Background: Biomarkers predicting the outcome of HIV-1 virus control in natural infection and after therapeutic interventions in HIV-1 cure trials remain poorly defined. The BCN02 trial (NCT02616874), combined a T-cell vaccine with romidepsin (RMD), a cancer-drug that was used to promote HIV-1 latency reversal and which has also been shown to have beneficial effects on neurofunction. We conducted longitudinal plasma proteomics analyses in trial participants to define biomarkers associated with virus control during monitored antiretroviral pause (MAP) and to identify novel therapeutic targets that can improve future cure strategies.
Methods: BCN02 was a phase I, open-label, single-arm clinical trial in early-treated, HIV infected individuals. Longitudinal plasma proteomes were analyzed in 11 BCN02 participants, including 8 participants that showed a rapid HIV-1 plasma rebound during a monitored antiretroviral pause (MAP-NC, 'non-controllers') and 3 that remained off ART with sustained plasma viremia <2000 copies/ml (MAP-C, 'controllers'). Inflammatory and neurological proteomes in plasma were evaluated and integration data analysis (viral and neurocognitive parameters) was performed. Validation studies were conducted in a cohort of untreated HIV-1+ individuals (n = 96) and in vitro viral replication assays using an anti-CD33 antibody were used for functional validation.