Spotlight On... Norway's Bionor tests drug-vaccine combo against HIV;Yisheng Biopharma posts positive PhI results for rabies vax; Univercells gets $500,000 to research ways to reduce cost of vaccine production; and more...

Antiretroviral treatments sometimes fail to work in people with HIV because of the virus' ability to "hide" in cells and then reemerge once therapy stops. Norway's Bionor tested anticancer drug romidepsin and a vaccine, Vacc-4x, in 17 HIV-positive patients in the hopes that the combo would force the virus out of hiding and then kill it. Romidepsin "wakes up" HIV from its dormant state, while the vaccine primes the body's T-cells to recognize and destroy the virus, The Philadelphia Sunday Sun reports. All but two of the patients exhibited a "statistically significant decrease" in the virus, showing "non-detectable or very low levels of virus" in their blood. Read more

> China's Yisheng Biopharma reported positive topline results from the Phase I trial of its postexposure PIKA rabies vaccine. Release

> Brussels, Belgium-based Univercells won a €466,500 ($503,000) grant toward a two-year research project examining ways to reduce the cost of vaccine and antibody production. Story

> The FDA authorized San Diego, CA-based MabVax to go ahead with its Phase I trial of HuMab-5B1 in patients with pancreatic cancer. The therapy was discovered in the immune response of cancer patients vaccinated with an antigen-specific vaccine during a Phase I trial at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Release

> Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center and the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine identified how the parasite that causes Chagas disease evades the immune system. The parasite, T. cruzi, uses a protein to hide, allowing it to stay hidden for decades. Read more

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