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Building an infrastructure of an operating European clinical STI prevention network will have a sustainable impact on infectious diseases in Europe. The smart, iterative trial design of the STIPnet embedded incidence study will allow to rapidly test novel concepts and approaches and bring them into the clinic. It is important to note that the STIPnet embedded study will already generate data that will be pivotal to gain control over the concerningly spreading STI epidemic in Europe and will allow to formulate national and European-wide strategies to contain these infections. Indeed, STIPnet will provide for the first time unprecedented detail on the STI epidemic. STIPnet will significantly increase Europe’s capacity to control STIs and will provide urgently needed knowledge to contain this syndemic.
STIPnet will lay the foundation for a sustainable, long-lasting network to build public-private partnerships to develop and test new treatment and novel cure options of against sexually transmitted diseases. Our ambition is that we will be able to accelerate product development into validation and testing. Indeed, several concepts for new prevention methods have emerged in recent years, but only few have been tested. We believe a major reason for this is that no infrastructure catering towards STI prevention exist world-wide and that a network as STIPnet is urgently needed.
For a detailed explanation about STIPnet’s goals and motivation, click here
The core rationale for STIPnet is to create an European infrastructure to develop an overall strategy against the HIV & STI syndemic. As detailed above, STIPnet will work in different phases that are all critical to increase Europe’s capacity to control infectious diseases:
> Sustainable network to address the European STI epidemic:
The STIPnet network will bring together expertise of different fields and profession and will build over the next years high quality, fully operational clinical sites with well-trained staff to address the needs of the epidemic.
> Generation of pivotal data on the European STI and antibiotic microbial resistance (AMR) epidemic:
While there are reports on increase in certain STIs and AMR there is no clear picture on the syndemic of all STIs. Indeed, in recent years it became apparent that STIs cannot be viewed individually but can significantly impact each other. STIPnet will provide the urgently needed data on the point prevalence, incidence, recurrence, syndemic behavior, AMR, treatment success in association with socio-demographic and behavioral data, which will be an unprecedented detailed knowledge on STIs in Europe.
> Host factors and biomarker discovery to improve analytical methods and treatment strategies:
The research working group of STIPnet will focus on host and pathogen factors that increase susceptibility of infection as well as factors that influence the course of infection. The focus will be three major components that hold promise for biomarker discovery: 1) local and systemic inflammation 2) microbiome 3) host genetics. Indeed, while these areas have been extensively researched in other settings, there is only little data on curable STIs available. Moreover, the design of STIPnet will allow to rapidly move these discoveries into clinical trial research.
> Iterative and rapid testing of novel prevention methods:
By partnering with stakeholder in the field STIPnet will not only test own novel biomarkers but the network will also serve as an access point to rapidly test novel prevention methods against STI. The recent development of PrEP has demonstrated the need that quick clinical testing strategies of novel prevention methods is needed. A high-quality, fully trained and operational clinical access point will allow a fast testing of novel therapeutics and/or prevention methods. Thus, overall significantly reducing cost, time and effort to study new products
To date, six vaccine strategies have been evaluated in clinical trials for their efficacy at inducing protective immune responses against HIV infection. However, only the ALVAC-HIV/AIDSVAX B/E vaccine (RV144 trial) has demonstrated protection, albeit modestly (31%; P = 0.03). One potential correlate of protection was a low-frequency HIV-specific CD4 T cell population with diverse functionality…
HIV-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) confer protection after passive immunization, but the immunological mechanisms that drive their development are poorly understood. Structural features of bNAbs indicate that they originate from extensive germinal center (GC) selection, which relies on persistent GC activity…
Estimating the size of the viral reservoir is critical for HIV cure strategies. Biomarkers in peripheral circulation may give insights into the establishment of the viral reservoir in compartments not easily accessible. We therefore measured systemic levels of 84 soluble biomarkers belonging to a broad array of immune pathways in acute HIV infection in both antiretroviral therapy-naive (ART-naive) individuals as well as individuals who began ART upon early detection of HIV infection…
CD4+ T cells subsets have a wide range of important helper and regulatory functions in the immune system. Several studies have specifically suggested that circulating effector CD4+ T cells may play a direct role in control of HIV replication through cytolytic activity or autocrine β-chemokine production…
Natural killer (NK) cells limit viral replication by direct recognition of infected cells, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), and releasing cytokines. Although growing evidence supports NK cell antiviral immunity in HIV-1 infection, further knowledge of their response is necessary…
Given the emerging appreciation for the role of antibody-dependent effector functions and IgG subclass distribution among spontaneous controllers of HIV, we sought to determine whether antibody-associated features diverged in early HIV infection between patients who ultimately became controllers versus those who became progressors…
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