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A therapeutic vaccine could help patients with HIV to take a break from their tough drug regimes, according to a prominent French immunologist.

Brigitte Autran of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris revealed the results of her recent study at a Keystone symposium in Banff, Canada. Autran claims that her results offer the best evidence yet for the promise of a 'therapeutic vaccine' against HIV.

Such a vaccine would not stop people from contracting HIV, but, in theory, it could be used to boost the immune systems of individuals with HIV who are undergoing 'highly active anti-retroviral therapy'. Some researchers, however, are questioning the findings, arguing that it is based on a small sample size.

Link to Nature news story

Source: Nature 422, 650 (2003)

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