Genocea’s Herpes Vaccine Heads For Critical Proving Ground

9/12/13Follow @benthefidler

No one has made an effective vaccine for herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), better known as genital herpes. That’s because no one has been able to harness the immune system to attack the virus while it’s hiding out, dormant, inside cells. While there’s a long road ahead, Genocea Biosciences says it has a shot to be the first—assuming the early immunologic signs it is seeing in a clinical trial end up translating into fewer symptoms of the chronic sexually transmitted disease.

Cambridge, MA-based Genocea is announcing some interim data from its first human clinical trial for its experimental vaccine, GEN-003, for HSV-2 today at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Denver.

The results of the 143-patient study are positive, so far: Its vaccine appears to be well tolerated by patients, to trigger an immune system response, and slow down the rate at which the virus replicates in the body. But they’re also very preliminary: Genocea now has to play the waiting game and track these patients for a year to see if its scientific hypothesis actually translates to fewer of the outbreaks of genital blisters and sores that patients suffer from. If the results hold up over time, Genocea will gear up for its biggest test to date—a mid-stage clinical that will likely sink or swim based on GEN-003’s ability to confirm it can curb those symptoms.

GEN-003 is the first, most advanced product of Genocea’s quick-hit vaccine production platform. That technology, which came out of the labs of Harvard University professor Darren Higgins, is supposed to differentiate Genocea from other vaccine makers in two ways: significantly cutting down on the time it takes to discover the right antigens for a vaccine, which is important because antigens are the substances that people can form antibodies against. Genocea also envisions making vaccines that triggers a response from both B cells (the ones that form antibodies) and T cells. All of the approved vaccines to date work in a more limited way, by only coaxing B cells to fight viruses.

This, according to CEO Chip Clark, is the reason that no one to date has been able to make a vaccine that can treat—let alone prevent—HSV-2. While this virus spends some of its life cycle floating in the blood, where B cells can reach it, it spends more of its time hiding from those antibodies inside nerve tissue at the base of the spine, where it can grow and replicate. T cells, however, have the ability to recognize this infected tissue, if trained to do so, and kill the virus.

This is the type of thing Genocea hopes GEN-003 will be able to do. The experimental vaccine is a combination of both a B cell and T cell antigen, and an immune-boosting compound (adjuvant) called Matrix-M that Genocea licensed from Sweden-based Isconova AB. The idea is by triggering a T cell response, GEN-003 would hit HSV-2 while it’s seemingly dormant and tuckered away in cells—the time between HSV-2 patients’ outbreaks. By doing so, the vaccine, in theory, would slow down what is known as “viral shedding.” This is when HSV-2, after replicating in cells in the spinal column, migrates to the genitals.

Genocea’s first … Next Page »

Ben Fidler is Xconomy's Deputy Biotechnology Editor. You can e-mail him at bfidler@xconomy.com Follow @benthefidler

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  • http://www.herpeswoo.com/ HerpesWoo.com

    Thanks for your effort.

  • Phoenix

    I have been living with the herpes virus for 13 years. I contracted it when I was brutally date raped at the age of 20 years old, it has taken many years to be able to speak freely about what happened all those years ago. I am happily married now, but sometimes the virus puts strain on the relationship it is hard for my husband to watch me suffer like this and the fear in the back of my mind of possibility passing it on to him. The thing that bothers me the most about this virus is that no one feels sorry for it’s victims. Its not like you would ever see people walking for a cure for herpes, wearing ribbons or raising funds like they do for the other viruses and disease’s. Herpes has a big stigma on it, that people who have it are dirty no one really understands it. My husband and I pray everyday that a cure is found. Thank God for people like you. P.S. I wonder if administering the vaccine by spinal tap would work since it hides I the spinal tissue.

    • S. Karner

      All the best Phoenix
      Siegfried, herpes sufferer since 2 years. The pain and issues are just incredible.

    • test

      daily acyclovir can help – have you tried this and talked to a doctor

    • jasmine

      How do you guys deal with ir

    • Lindsey

      Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  • Hopeful

    I agree with what Phoenix has stated. Society makes unfair assumptions that people with Herpes are probably promiscuous, lack hygiene, are of a lower class. Herpes became an unwelcome part of my life 15 years ago when my now, ex-husband decided our marital challenges were best solved by going out and having a one-night stand with someone he met at a nightclub. Then after finding he had contracted the Virus, rather than doing what was best for me and informing me, he decided that in sickness and in health meant he had the right to do what he did.

    I am blessed to have found a man who is patient and understanding. But I, too, love him so much that I would never want him to be infected. The worry is there every day . Any hope for even a tangible vaccine for remission, or sigmificant reduction in outbreaks and shedding, would be a life changer for so many of us. Thank you for the work you are doing. God Bless You.

  • Curtis

    True heroes. Very good people indeed.

  • Tom harely

    I just saw on the news that according to a
    report from CDC, the number of gay people on the largest STD dating site
    HerpesCommunity. com has reached 310,000. This site seems to be powered by
    plenty of fish and most of the gay people on it are sexy and good looking.

    Personally, I have no objection to gay
    marriage. My concern is that more and more gay men get STDs. It seems that gay
    men is easier to get an STD and
    they even don’t know when they have it.

  • Beth Williams

    Fantastic news! This will bring hope and another option to hsv2 sufferers. The other gen 03 product already available to the hsv2 community is viradux-au which had been available through their website since 2013.

    For those who didn’t respond to treatment this will provide a second opportunity to clear the virus. For those who don’t want to wait until this is approved for the public, there is more info on the viradux website.

    • Dr. John

      So Beth are there clinical studies on this Viradux-au you seem to be pushing so hard on? Are you working within this company?

  • S.K.

    I would pay USD 10.000 to get rid of this incredible torture.

    • Mike

      You mean 10,000 or 10 bucks? I would also pay 10k for a cure, not treatment, cure!

  • distressed

    Wat about ocular herpes cure, pls dun leave us out been sufferer for 4 years now…hope help is on its way before I go blind and save the left over sight

  • tmso

    How can I participate or buy a vaccine????

  • Tony

    How can I participate?

  • Kenneth Verstraete

    The stigma surrounding herpes and in fact a lot of std’s should also be addressed.

    A lot of people suffer from it and sometimes get marginalized by society. I do not know what is worse the disease or the stigma surrounding it. Hopefully you all get well with whatever treatment you decide to take.

    Kenneth.
    gent, Belgium
    http://www.abandonherpes.com

    • Scully

      Definitely the stigma. When it becomes a topic of conversation around the workplace for some dumb reason and you get to hear all the comments people make. If you suffer but don’t necessarily show signs at the moment it will still make you feel like you’ve be marginalized or just down right insulted. I worked for a place for six months where the co workers would ridicule a dude behind his back about his cold sore. Knowing damn well it was about time I was gonna have one too. All the things they said about him were essentially said about me too. They just didn’t know it yet.

      • Kenneth Verstraete

        Hey scully. I do not suffer from herpes myself but i do know that people sometimes can be ignorant.

        People most of the times ridicule things they dont know about. We all do it one time or the other.

        Best thing you can do is ignore it. Dont let it stress you out.
        But people should be made aware so the stigma ends.

  • http://www.hpvmatch.com/ HPVMatch.com

    We need more effort to get rid of this.

  • bewildered

    yes the stigma also limits research dollars …no one is gonna walk or run or publically support awareness and efforts to raise research dollars .. truth is … herpes is a skin disease .. but people will fess up to HIV before Herpes … because victims are seen as pariahs .. sad

  • Scully

    Got anything for cold sores? My God, I would do anything to know they’ll never show up again on my face. It would change my life forever.

  • confused

    I’ve just been diagnosed with it. And am torn apart. I’ve not been with many people. I’m confused and feel devistated. I feel like my life is over. How cani date? I’m worried about giving it to my daughter. I feel like trash. How did this happen to me. I have no one to talk to.can’t talk to my mom she’ll call me a whore and blame it on me.

    • dallas diggle barry

      its ok life goes on, i had it for years before i got married youll be ok but yes hooking up with a lot of different people goes out the window, eating right helps me so good luck babe!

  • Not done watching

    YAY great news!!!! I would love to be a volunteer too!

  • Lightning Rod

    Pure STABILIZED Aloe Vera!
    http://www.diddoe.myflpbiz.com
    God bless,
    -Jimmy Turnstone

  • Ken

    Im 23 years old i just found out i have it im depressed about it and i pray that it only takes 3 year or less til someone makes a cure smh why me?

  • Maurice

    I will also love to be a volunteer. When and where?

    • vin

      count me in i’ll volunteer, ive had herpes for 3 years and from then to now it kills me every gods day and for some strange reason it affects me socially big time and im usually very good with people i realy think something should be done to take away the stigma becaus it really is nothing it just exist somewhere in your spine and does nothing which is pointless ive only had one small breakout ever since and shed the damn virus like everyone else but its not even noticeable when i do. i hate this fucking disease !!!!

  • Alworth

    I agree with Phoenix – we that have this miserable disease need a few big name stars to come out and do advocacy like they did with AIDS. But, for some reason, it’s deemed the “dirty” or last of the “stigma” diseases by the media and comedians and does not have the cache that AIDS was anointed with, though it’s by far much more prevelent. Some brave celebrity needs to step forward, and a foundation formed to generate funding and donations to run media adds like AIDS did. I agree it’s not as deadly, but it’s far more prevalent and is absolutely miserable for those of us that have moderate to sever cases. I do respond well to generic acyclovir (2 times a day). It’s cheap and effective, but a cure is needed and could be had with the same push the other diseases get, and a mass campaign to change the stigma. I bet with if the 22% to 26% of the population that has it came out of the closet with the intensity of AIDS, we’d change popular opinion overnight and get more cure funding. Come on notable people and celebrities, let’s see some courage.

  • jimbo

    I’ve had this for near a decade now. I just wanted to tell those of you commenting that have just found out you ha e it that it will be ok. I know at first yur in shock and feel alone, but life goes on. There will be a cure one day in our lifetime but until then just remember you are the same person u were, you just have some cautions you need to take that some other people don’t ha e to take. Cheer up, this like all other things will pass

    • Kenneth Verstraete

      I do not have herpes myself and i know it is very annoying. But i just wanted to say i have a lot of respect for your attitude and courage. Do you use any treatment? or did you change your lifestyle?

      Kenneth.
      http://www.abandonherpes.com

  • Levo

    Hi all this my message very important . Amazing formul , crash valtrex and vectavir cream and coconot oil , please mixed this tree, make a miracle cream , 5 hours boom hsv2 syhemtoms . My e mail mrlevent2000@yahoo.com please try please , for you :)

  • Kenneth Verstraete

    What i wonder about after reading all these comments is did you guys use any treatments or diets? And what do you think can be done to get rid of the social stigma?

    Kenneth
    http://www.abandonherpes.Com

  • Jason

    There are numerous bio-energetic vaccines out for herpes already. These include HRPZ nosodes, Bio 88, H-factor and 2lHerp. Trials in Europe showed 2lherp benefitting 82% of patients for 5 years after 6 months of treatment! Any company going to market with the intent of getting FDA vaccine approvals needs to have a few hundred million dollars in reserve or they will never cross the barriers to entry set up that keeps the realm of medicine reserved for the pharmaceutical giants.

    • Beth Williams

      Viradux-AU, available since early 2013 is the only gen 0003 anti viral treatment on the market that has been shown to be over 84 percent effective. It may not resolve every case but this option has brought thousands of people relief from this awful virus.

  • Dannie

    what about for someone like me who does not have genital herpes but hsv2 outbreaks on their leg?

  • Horatio

    I would like to say that I have had the virus for over 15 years now. And I pray everyday for a cure for us all. Also, to the hard working scientists who is developing a vaccine very soon.

  • rick

    Union makes the force lets all get together and reunited funds for the cure if yall herpes suffers like my self gets together we can accomplish our goal and the goal is to reunited enough funds to push the labs to put more effort on these disease that is killing us mentally lets not be afraid of what others can say if yall are serious about it lets go to the media and run tv advertising so the infected people can come out and help Raise funds to find cure for these disease

    • Hope

      its scary to actually own up to what we have been diagnosed with. Im afraid of what people may think. However, I am with you on coming together so we can fund this. You have 1 person on your team. do we have another? lol

  • hope

    Since there’s this big o stigma surrounding herpes i think a fund page should be made. maybe an organization should come together and create a fund so that $$ can be raised. I say that because many people are scared to admit they have it (like me) some days i am just so depressed and want to die and some days I am full of HOPE that WE WILL SOON HAVE A CURE! its sucks because no one would understand how herpes can mentally attack you unless you are faced in that situation. i have a friend that has herpes and i never understood what she was going through. i even judged her and now look. look at me, diagnosed. the sad part is people will talk shit but they do not know and will not understand your story. my boyfriend whom i thought was faithful passed it on to me. he wasn’t sleeping with 1 but i believe 3 people or more at the time. it sucks because someone so close to you can betray you. i feel for the ladies he are sleeping with because i am almost positive he never told them. anyways, with so many people in this world with herpes i believe the funds are there. its all about how we are going to come together and get through this.

  • Lacey Autumn

    Hey, I too struggled with herpes and tried so many things. Different things
    work for different people and I was lucky enough to find something that works
    for me. I haven’t had any recent outbreaks and it’s been a life changer.

    I’m a little embarrassed to talk about my personal life here but if anyone actually
    cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just
    send me an email at laceyautumn1980@gmail.com and I’ll tell you about how
    things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried.

    I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day.

  • yesica

    There’s a way to wipe out the root cause of herpes without
    side effects and it’s backed by several scientific studies. After just one
    treatment it can end your nightmare forever.

    Imagine….no more feelings of guilt and regret about your
    infection…no more obsessing of what you have or haven’t done to protect
    yourself and others…no more paranoia about infecting someone you love or
    about other people finding out.

    More info: http://tinyurl.com/poaxkxd

  • Smooth

    I readed alote of you guys comment. But have anyone of yall made a move yet? Like i see you guys saying yall should start a fund raiser to help invent a cure. And I see alote of you guys saying you’ll join in on the fund raiser. I also see people askin where they can join to help yall with the fund raiser, but I dont see nobody answering these questions.. If you guys really want to be help. You guys would really start A fund raiser to help you guys!

  • yesica

    Hello I was suffering from herpes and could not cure me look for the
    web and came across this book and download it, I read it and take out the
    treatment. The first thing I have to say is that the herpes virus cure
    “apparently” fast but to finish a small reasonable effort is
    necessary. As they say in the book is very serious and tries to correct the
    issue seriously. It focuses on the removal and the method is effective. It is a
    very good book, it achieves end this awful feeling of being “dirty” I
    recommend this book to eliminate herpes. I hope you heal herpes as I did.

    Download the book here: http://tinyurl.com/poaxkxd

  • mika

    Hello

    I suffered from herpes for 3 years, but do not know, was
    desperate to find a solution. The medicine the doctor prescribed seemed to me that would work, but I only relieved the symptoms and not solved my problem of herpes.
    I followed all the recommendations in this book downloaded
    via Internet for the last 7 weeks and I have not shoot!
    Thanks to all that I learned from this book that healthy
    herpes now I’m very happy.

    Download the book here: http://tinyurl.com/poaxkxd

    I hope you heal well bye…

  • Ferdinard Lucas

    Hello Views.
    Am FERDINARD LUCAS from USA. I am a worker in one of d most prolific hotels in new york, am a man of better family with a wife and four kids but something do not make me feel happy even if i am with my happy family because am an HIV positive. I have been to different hospitals of high class doctors but to no avail, my result of each test i take keep saying am an HIV positive. But one faithful evening, which is on d fourth of November 2013, i was browsing through the internet when i came across this email: obazespiritualspelltemple@hotmail.com and i quickly copied it and the next morning i called the number that was attached to the email which is +2348157905793. A humbled man answered me and i told him everything about my health and he asked me if i have an email and i said yes, he told me to send it to him and i did exactly. He sent me a form to fill which i did and send it back to him. On the 3rd day he told me that he need some items which he would use in casting the spell off me but the items he required for is hardly to be found here in USA so, he told me to send just 500us dollars which he will use to buy the items in Nigeria. I sent the money through western union, that very afternoon after he had bought the items he told me on the phone to received my healing. That very day before night fall he called me and told me to go to the nearest hospital for check up. In the next morning my personal doctor came and made a test on me but behold i was confirmed HIV negative by my doctor. It was unbelievable to me and that was how i was cured. Believe me or not he is not a scam and the only money i sent to him was the one he used in purchasing the items. He is a God sent Man. Please if you are similar to this problem u can contact him with this email:obazespiritualspelltemple@hotmail.com even call him on this number:+2348157905793
    So if you need the help of this great man contact him for the spell to be carry out so that your healing will commence immediately.
    Once again his email address is obazespiritualspelltemple@hotmail.com
    even you can give him a call with his private line on +2348157905793
    His private website is=obazespiritualspelltemple.webs.com
    for your sorrow to turns to joy.
    Thankfully to you all.
    Regards….
    FERDINARD LUCAS.

  • Ferdinard Lucas

    Hello Views.
    Am FERDINARD LUCAS from USA. I am a worker in one of d most prolific hotels in new york, am a man of better family with a wife and four kids but something do not make me feel happy even if i am with my happy family because am an HIV positive. I have been to different hospitals of high class doctors but to no avail, my result of each test i take keep saying am an HIV positive. But one faithful evening, which is on d fourth of November 2013, i was browsing through the internet when i came across this email: obazespiritualspelltemple@hotmail.com and i quickly copied it and the next morning i called the number that was attached to the email which is +2348157905793. A humbled man answered me and i told him everything about my health and he asked me if i have an email and i said yes, he told me to send it to him and i did exactly. He sent me a form to fill which i did and send it back to him. On the 3rd day he told me that he need some items which he would use in casting the spell off me but the items he required for is hardly to be found here in USA so, he told me to send just 500us dollars which he will use to buy the items in Nigeria. I sent the money through western union, that very afternoon after he had bought the items he told me on the phone to received my healing. That very day before night fall he called me and told me to go to the nearest hospital for check up. In the next morning my personal doctor came and made a test on me but behold i was confirmed HIV negative by my doctor. It was unbelievable to me and that was how i was cured. Believe me or not he is not a scam and the only money i sent to him was the one he used in purchasing the items. He is a God sent Man. Please if you are similar to this problem u can contact him with this email:obazespiritualspelltemple@hotmail.com even call him on this number:+2348157905793
    So if you need the help of this great man contact him for the spell to be carry out so that your healing will commence immediately.
    Once again his email address is obazespiritualspelltemple@hotmail.com
    even you can give him a call with his private line on +2348157905793
    His private website is=obazespiritualspelltemple.webs.com
    for your sorrow to turns to joy.
    Thankfully to you all.
    Regards….
    FERDINARD LUCAS..

  • Tracy Adams

    This is real take it serious, who will believe that a herb can cure 7

    years HIV in my body, i never believe that this will work i have spend a

    lot getting drugs from the hospital to keep me healthy, what i was waiting

    for is death because i was broke. One day i heard about this great man who

    is well known of HIV and cancer cure, i decided to email him, unknowingly

    to me that this will be the end of the HIV aids in my body, he prepare the

    herb for me, and give me instruction on how to take it, at the end of the

    two week, he told me to go to the hospital for a check up, and i went,

    surprisingly after the test the doctor confirm me negative, i thought it

    was a joke, i went to another hospital, it was also negative, then i took

    my friend who was also HIV positive to the Dr, after the treatment she was

    also confirm negative . He also have the herb to cure cancer… please i

    want everyone with this virus to be free, that is why am dropping his

    email address, ogboduspellhome@gmail.com…his phone number[2347069492065, 2347050485554]… do email him he is a great man.

    Thank you for saving my life, and I promise I will always testify for your

    good work.