2014 June

New Animal Model Could Boost Research on AIDS Drugs and Vaccines

Monkeys with cells illustration

The figure shows the serial passage of minimally changed HIV into a series of pigtail macaques to adapt the virus, which became capable of causing AIDS in the monkeys, beginning after the third animal-to-animal passage (“P4” in the figure). Inverted monkey icons indicate animals that succumbed to AIDS-defining conditions. The background demonstrates depletion of CD4+ T cells from gut-associated lymphoid tissues, a hallmark of AIDS virus pathogenesis.

By Frank Blanchard, Staff Writer, and Jeff Lifson, Guest Writer

In a research milestone reported in the June 20 issue of the journal Science, scientists have developed a minimally modified version of HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS in infected humans, that is capable of causing progressive infection and AIDS in monkeys. The advance should help create more authentic animal models of the disease and provide a potentially invaluable approach for faster and better preclinical evaluation of new drugs and vaccines.

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New Hires at the National Cancer Institute at Frederick

NCI, Leidos and DMS logos.

Fifty-six people joined the facility in January, February, and March 2014.

The National Cancer Institute welcomes…

Shailesh Ambre • Lucia Babini • Hideaki Bando • Sandip Basu • Konstantinos Dimas • Amber Elia • Lan Jin • Yifei Li • Hanhan Liu • Hugo Martinez • Manasi Mayekar • Michele Newton • Sheikh Rahman • Luis Rodriguez • Eric Sterner • Emmanuel Tavares • Yanping Wang • Sarah Watters

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NCI Researchers Discover Exceptionally Potent Antibodies with Potential for Prophylaxis and Therapy of MERS-Coronavirus Infections

Crystal structures.

Docked complexes of MERS-CoV RBD with mAbs (A) m336, (B) m337, and (C) m338. (D) Superposition of the docked complexes of RBD-m336,7,8 and the crystal structure of the RBD-DPP4 complex.

By Andrea Frydl, Contributing Writer

In a recent article published in the Journal of Virology, Tianlei Ying, Ph.D., Dimiter Dimitrov, Ph.D., and their colleagues in the Laboratory of Experimental Immunology (LEI), Cancer and Inflammation Program, NCI Center for Cancer Research, reported the identification of three human monoclonal antibodies (m336, m337, and m338) that target the part of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that is responsible for binding to its receptor. These antibodies are exceptionally potent inhibitors of MERS-CoV infection and also provide a basis for creating a future MERS-CoV vaccine.

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How You Can Help Save a Life

Man donating blood.

Kevin Zecher, a regular double-red donor, gives his red blood cells during the Red Cross Blood Drive held at NCI at Frederick on April 10. OHS regularly hosts blood drives for both whole blood and double-red cell donations.

By Carolynne Keenan, Contributing Writer

Kevin Zecher, a maintenance mechanic in Facilities Maintenance and Engineering, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., hasn’t missed a double-red cell donation at a blood drive at NCI at Frederick in four years.

He marks the time by his first granddaughter’s birth—that’s when he first decided to donate more than whole blood.

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