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Author Topic: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine  (Read 4582 times)

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Offline Dr.Strangelove

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The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« on: January 24, 2014, 03:34:09 AM »
Official Website
Donate here

The Verge: The Immunity Project hopes to build a better HIV vaccine through crowdfunding and machine learning

As much as I like crowdfunding and can't wait to see an effective HIV-vaccine being released, I very much doubt that a bunch of social media experts and a crowdfunding campain will solve that problem thousands of dedicated scientists have been working on for a couple of decades...

From their website:
“WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THIS RESEARCH BEING PUBLISHED IN A PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL?
We are awaiting publication in a peer-reviewed journal.”

Another excerpt –
“This is, of course, highly speculative since no clinical testing has been done to date with our candidate vaccine.”


They are really good at PR, though!

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2014, 09:30:01 AM »
Dr. 

Thanks for posting this, and I agree that crowd funding a vaccine is very much a long shot.  They need to raise about $500k for trials on mice (with humanized immune systems) and then $25 million for each of the phase I and II trials.  This would make them the largest crowd funded project by far.

I think they are more than "a bunch of social media experts", the head of the organization founded the drug company Aradigm Inc. The underlying technical work (machine learning of elite controllers to identify the target amino acids) was done at Microsoft e-Science Research, who put $1 million into the organization.  Even so - they are still very much a scientific underdog.

Here is another article on them: http://tinyurl.com/o7gh363

I see this as a sign of the times - it could be one of the many social media attempts that didn't work or it could be the equivalent of the Kahn Academy's impact on education, or Twitter's impact on the Arab Spring....
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline Dr.Strangelove

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2014, 11:08:47 AM »
I'm not saying this is a scam. And I'm a big fan of crowdsourcing in general. I guess what bothers me is that they are trying to sell their vaccine a little too hard. They dumb down the science way too much for my taste.
For example:
Quote
SAFE: Our vaccine does not contain killed viruses, live viruses, or genetically-modified viruses.
As if the question whether a vaccine contains live/killed/GM viruses is the only determinant for safety...

Their whole - admittedly very professionally designed - campaign makes it sound as if the only obstacle of making an HIV vaccine available for everyone is just a matter of raising those $482,000. And in my opinion that's just not very honest.
As far as I see, they don't have any data yet that shows this vaccine will succeed where so many previous vaccine candidates failed. And at this moment we have several other vaccine candidates (such as GeoVax) that are much further progressed and show actual promising results.

Maybe in the end I prefer the publicly funded research where you get the results straight forward without all the marketing BS. People put a lot of hope in a vaccine and a cure which is the reason why such marketing promises in such a setting bother me a lot more than let's say some campaign collecting a few million USD to Free Willy...
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 11:14:40 AM by Dr.Strangelove »

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2014, 02:03:59 PM »
Dr.  I hear all of your concerns, and agree with them, but in the end I think this is a good thing because:

1. This is a trial that would not happen otherwise.  We are talking about additional funding added to the universe of trials, not competing for the publicly funded pool of money.

2. While this project does have "marketing BS" so do the publicly funded projects - particularly as they get filtered through the media for the general population.  So we are just trading one form of marketing BS for another.

3. This project is reaching audiences that wouldn't otherwise be touched or engaged -- the downside to that is that it may be creating false hope, the upside is that people are more aware.  I have no idea (and don't think anyone does) what the real trade offs are, but I would err on the side of awareness.

4. Maybe, just maybe ---- this will add a spark to other research, in terms of learning's or a competitive push.  This may be hoping for the Butterfly Effect, which is what you don't want to see (because it fits into the false hope category) -- I kind of like this potential but am able to filter it through reality too.

In the words of the great philosopher Wayne Gretzky,
"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 02:09:46 PM by Jmarksto »
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline GoForIt

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2014, 03:18:37 PM »
I am leaning towards agreeing with Dr. Strangelove.

Not enough information here on how their vaccine works exactly.  Very dumbed down with the key message being "PLEASE DONATE TO US". 

If they really are on to something they should release more information about it and the money would roll in if they actually discovered anything.
08/09/2013   Diagnosed WB positive
08/20/2013   CD4-506(28%)  VL-10,800
09/12/2013   CD4-391(28%)  VL-14,900
09/17/2013   Start ART (Truvada & Tivicay)
10/11/2013   CD4-377(26%)  VL-UD
12/20/2013   CD4-590(??%)  VL-UD
03/18/2014   CD4-660(29%)  VL-UD
07/22/2014   CD4-613(29%)  VL-UD
08/01/2014    Start TAF Clinical Trial
10/09/2014   CD4-498(29.5%) VL-UD

Offline Ann

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2014, 04:00:25 PM »
I am leaning towards agreeing with Dr. Strangelove.

Not enough information here on how their vaccine works exactly.  Very dumbed down with the key message being "PLEASE DONATE TO US". 

If they really are on to something they should release more information about it and the money would roll in if they actually discovered anything.

I tend to agree. Fair enough, have your main body of information "dumbed down" for the regular Joes and Josephines out there, but also include detailed information for those of us with a better understanding.

It all feels too fishy to me - it wouldn't be the first time someone did something dodgy to make off with loads of research money. (And you can't tell me that this guy didn't line his pockets with a good bit of that $19,000,000)
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline GoForIt

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2014, 06:32:57 PM »
They do say they want to give out the vaccine for free which is nice. 

I just wish we could get some more details.  They make it sound very simple....but I am skeptical. 
08/09/2013   Diagnosed WB positive
08/20/2013   CD4-506(28%)  VL-10,800
09/12/2013   CD4-391(28%)  VL-14,900
09/17/2013   Start ART (Truvada & Tivicay)
10/11/2013   CD4-377(26%)  VL-UD
12/20/2013   CD4-590(??%)  VL-UD
03/18/2014   CD4-660(29%)  VL-UD
07/22/2014   CD4-613(29%)  VL-UD
08/01/2014    Start TAF Clinical Trial
10/09/2014   CD4-498(29.5%) VL-UD

Offline Ann

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2014, 06:19:12 AM »

They do say they want to give out the vaccine for free which is nice. 


For me, that's just another big red flag.

If something is too good to be true, it is probably a scam, just like all those scam emails that tell you you've won a lottery you never even entered. ::)
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Jmarksto

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  • Posts: 513
Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2014, 05:35:20 PM »
it seems that not everyone in the poz.com organization thinks this is a scam...

http://www.poz.com/articles/salim_abdool_karim_2676_24826.shtml
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline Ann

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2014, 09:02:06 AM »
it seems that not everyone in the poz.com organization thinks this is a scam...

http://www.poz.com/articles/salim_abdool_karim_2676_24826.shtml

He isn't part of the "poz.com organisation". I wouldn't necessarily consider an opinion piece from this guy in the magazine as a full endorsement from poz.com.

Call me cynical, but I've seen too many scams before (and many intelligent, well-regarded people being duped by such scams) and I would think long and hard before handing over any of my cash.
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2014, 10:33:29 AM »
Poz.com certainly vets what they post as opinion pieces, and if the opinion piece is soliciting funds I am sure they agree with the organization. I am sure that the fact that "this guy", who happens to be the Director of CAPRISA and a professor of epidemiology at Columbia, was one of many contributing factors that led Poz.com to conclude that this wasn't a scam. 

The broader point is that one does not have to do much due diligence to see that this is not a scam -- especially to be equated with the "lottery winning scams". 

We need to do our due diligence before passing judgement and publicly stating an organization is legit or a scam.

The media has the power to make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent Malcom X
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2014, 10:36:28 AM »
Poz.com certainly vets what they post as opinion pieces, and if the opinion piece is soliciting funds I am sure they agree with the organization. I am sure that the fact that "this guy", who happens to be the Director of CAPRISA and a professor of epidemiology at Columbia, was one of many contributing factors that led Poz.com to conclude that this wasn't a scam. 

The broader point is that one does not have to do much due diligence to see that this is not a scam -- especially to be equated with the "lottery winning scams". 

We need to do our due diligence before passing judgement and publicly stating an organization is legit or a scam.

The media has the power to make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent Malcom X

I'm sure you know more about how poz.com is run than I do. ::)

If you want to give them your money, go ahead. I won't stop you.

Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2014, 10:42:02 AM »


The broader point is that one does not have to do much due diligence to see that this is not a scam -- especially to be equated with the "lottery winning scams". 


By the way, I never actually claimed it was definitely a scam. It's just my opinion that something doesn't feel right about it and paying attention to my intuition has served me well over the years.

You, of course, are more than welcome to your own opinion about it.
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline mecch

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2014, 02:03:44 PM »
For some reason I remember that gay couple who tried to crowdfund their multiple (delusional) wedding ceremonies, and then were crowd shamed:

 :o

http://gawker.com/help-this-needy-couples-parents-attend-one-of-their-th-1350721195

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Dr.Strangelove

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2014, 03:32:47 AM »
As a follow-up:

Here is a Ask-Me-Anything on Reddit by the Immunity Project

Some interesting questions and answers there.

Offline YellowFever

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2014, 01:46:09 PM »
I think crowd-sourcing funds for such a big project is a bad idea. Because you're not technically funding something concrete. Its not to build a school in Uganda, or send humanitarian aid to Typhoon victims in the Philippines. We would be funding the chance of finding a cure. Say we manage to rope in the big wigs of the entertainment industry to rally around this cause, put out concerts in support of this cause and make their appeal go 'viral' on social media. What happens if the research shows otherwise? Would this affect appeals for genuine help? Like providing condoms and ARVs to developing countries.

I think it would be better to stick to the tried and true method; of lobbying the government. To get them to increase funding for research, to speed up approvals for drugs, and legislate patent law such that it balances the interests of Big Pharma with the interests of Humanity. ACT UP did it in the 80s, and I'm convinced it worked.
08/2010 HIV- 08/2012 HIV+
10/2012 CD4 415(15%)
04/2013 CD4 457(15%)
10/2013 CD4 520 (20%) VL 650 (wtf?)
02/2014 CD4 410(20%) VL 390 (yay!)
08/2014 CD4 580(?%)

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2014, 12:14:07 PM »
As of today the Immunity Project has raised over 70% of the funds for their pre-clinical study.  They have also published an executive summary white paper with more details on the project, which is here:

http://tinyurl.com/mhqz7wz
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline georgep77

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2014, 01:02:31 PM »
As of today the Immunity Project has raised over 70% of the funds for their pre-clinical study.  They have also published an executive summary white paper with more details on the project, which is here:

http://tinyurl.com/mhqz7wz
Good to know Jmarksto, thanks for the info, let's cross fingers, someone here called it an scam when it wasn't, how come some people can never admit to their mistakes.
Come on Sangamo,  Geovax,  Bionor immuno, ...Make us happy !!!
+ 2008

Online Jeff G

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2014, 01:48:21 PM »
Good to know Jmarksto, thanks for the info, let's cross fingers, someone here called it an scam when it wasn't, how come some people can never admit to their mistakes.

A little passive aggressive huh ? . No one said emphatically it was a scam so I'm wondering if you are willing to admit you are mistaken on this point .

Offline georgep77

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2014, 06:37:54 PM »
it is probably a scam, just like all those scam emails that tell you you've won a lottery you never even entered. ::)
I'm wondering if Ann is willing to admit she made a mistake.
Come on Sangamo,  Geovax,  Bionor immuno, ...Make us happy !!!
+ 2008

Online Jeff G

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2014, 08:02:52 PM »
By the way, I never actually claimed it was definitely a scam. It's just my opinion that something doesn't feel right about it and paying attention to my intuition has served me well over the years.

You, of course, are more than welcome to your own opinion about it.

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2014, 03:46:24 PM »
Here is a good article in the journal Nature on the tension between the conventional science community and crowdfunding the Immunity Project.

http://tinyurl.com/ngl3zrx
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline GoForIt

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2014, 04:34:09 PM »
Here is a good article in the journal Nature on the tension between the conventional science community and crowdfunding the Immunity Project.

http://tinyurl.com/ngl3zrx

Just read this article and it does not reflect well for this "project."  I put a lot more faith in other studies going on right now like Sangamo or Calimmune or Geovax.

This article really reflects how I think all of the skeptical people feel.
08/09/2013   Diagnosed WB positive
08/20/2013   CD4-506(28%)  VL-10,800
09/12/2013   CD4-391(28%)  VL-14,900
09/17/2013   Start ART (Truvada & Tivicay)
10/11/2013   CD4-377(26%)  VL-UD
12/20/2013   CD4-590(??%)  VL-UD
03/18/2014   CD4-660(29%)  VL-UD
07/22/2014   CD4-613(29%)  VL-UD
08/01/2014    Start TAF Clinical Trial
10/09/2014   CD4-498(29.5%) VL-UD

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2014, 04:50:07 PM »
Just read this article and it does not reflect well for this "project."  I put a lot more faith in other studies going on right now like Sangamo or Calimmune or Geovax.

This article really reflects how I think all of the skeptical people feel.

I agree, many of the other research efforts have a much stronger scientific underpinning, so fortunately we do not have to choose between this project and other research or advocacy efforts...
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline mecch

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2014, 06:10:12 PM »
Well its interesting to explore the construction of knowledge and the potential for research of "crowds".  Just like crowd funding is interesting.  Will the research also be crowd, or just the funding? 
Also its interesting when non-scientists have a crack at science.

That said, reading the tinyurl article doesn't build much hope for this particular project.

Still, if all the money donated is coming from people or groups that have money to give to "speculative" projects, expendable income that is, its not really a waste, is it?

As long as its not some sort of scam by the administrators of the project just to line their own pockets...   Now that would be immoral and criminal. 
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Ann

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2014, 09:15:43 AM »
Good to know Jmarksto, thanks for the info, let's cross fingers, someone here called it an scam when it wasn't, how come some people can never admit to their mistakes.

I'm wondering if Ann is willing to admit she made a mistake.

By the way, I never actually claimed it was definitely a scam. It's just my opinion that something doesn't feel right about it and paying attention to my intuition has served me well over the years.

You, of course, are more than welcome to your own opinion about it.


George, I'm more than happy to admit when I'm wrong, but I don't think I'm wrong about this situation. It still doesn't feel right to me and the fact that others who know a lot more about vaccine research than I do are also sceptical would seem to validate my suspicions.

I'm still not saying it's definitely a scam, but I really don't think it's totally legit either. Time will tell. If I do turn out to be wrong, don't worry sunshine, I'll admit it. I'd be happy to admit it because if I am wrong, then that would mean they have a great success on their hands.

But I doubt it.
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline YellowFever

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2014, 11:19:26 AM »
Still, if all the money donated is coming from people or groups that have money to give to "speculative" projects, expendable income that is, its not really a waste, is it?

As long as its not some sort of scam by the administrators of the project just to line their own pockets...   Now that would be immoral and criminal.

That is basically the crux of the problem. If the speculative project fails, how would anyone know if it was a genuine shot to begin with, or a complete scam, or a mix of both (i.e genuine shot but poor research resulted in low quality data).
08/2010 HIV- 08/2012 HIV+
10/2012 CD4 415(15%)
04/2013 CD4 457(15%)
10/2013 CD4 520 (20%) VL 650 (wtf?)
02/2014 CD4 410(20%) VL 390 (yay!)
08/2014 CD4 580(?%)

Offline georgep77

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2014, 09:41:57 AM »

George, I'm more than happy to admit when I'm wrong, but I don't think I'm wrong about this situation. It still doesn't feel right to me and the fact that others who know a lot more about vaccine research than I do are also sceptical would seem to validate my suspicions.

I'm still not saying it's definitely a scam, but I really don't think it's totally legit either. Time will tell. If I do turn out to be wrong, don't worry sunshine, I'll admit it. I'd be happy to admit it because if I am wrong, then that would mean they have a great success on their hands.

But I doubt it.
My apologies Ann, you're right... time will tell, after so many wannabe cures it's better to be remain cautious.
Come on Sangamo,  Geovax,  Bionor immuno, ...Make us happy !!!
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Offline Ann

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2014, 06:29:54 AM »
My apologies Ann, you're right... time will tell, after so many wannabe cures it's better to be remain cautious.

Thanks, George. 

As much as I hate to be cynical, I've seen too many false claims over the years. Some (most) have been motivated by greed (scams) and some (far fewer) have been perpetuated by people with their hearts in the right place, but with their heads up their nether regions (clueless do-gooders).

I'm starting to think the people at the center of this project fall into the latter camp, rather than the former. At least I hope that's the case if this is as dubious a project as my guts are telling me it is. I've grown tired of watching of charlatans get rich off other people's misery, and not only where hiv is concerned.

But yes, time will tell regarding this project. I'm not going to be holding my breath though.
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Dr.Strangelove

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2014, 10:35:25 AM »
Another follow-up. The journal Nature has a critical and interesting article about the project.

Nature: Crowd-funded HIV vaccine project sparks debate

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2014, 02:46:22 PM »
Here is another article from the Medical Daily on the project:

http://tinyurl.com/medical-daily-immunity

The author of this article recognizes the criticisms, although the conclusion is much more favorable.

It is worth noting during this discussion that there was also significant criticism for the RV 144 study too, which ended up decreasing the funding (and yes, there is a big scientific difference between the two studies), which is outlined in this report:

http://www.vaxreport.org/Back-Issues/Pages/MoreSurprisesStemfromRV144.aspx

03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline Ann

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2014, 04:28:57 AM »
Another follow-up. The journal Nature has a critical and interesting article about the project.

Nature: Crowd-funded HIV vaccine project sparks debate

That's the same article Jmarksto linked to a week ago. I got all excited because I thought you found a new article with more information. ;D

Here is a good article in the journal Nature on the tension between the conventional science community and crowdfunding the Immunity Project.

http://tinyurl.com/ngl3zrx



Here is another article from the Medical Daily on the project:

http://tinyurl.com/medical-daily-immunity

The author of this article recognizes the criticisms, although the conclusion is much more favorable.


I would have said "slightly more favourable" than the Nature article. It seems to me the author of the Medical Daily article is nearly as much on the fence as I am. He even ends with the phrase, "Qui Vivra Verra", which isn't all that different to  my comment, "time will tell".
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2014, 09:18:45 AM »
I would have said "slightly more favourable" than the Nature article. It seems to me the author of the Medical Daily article is nearly as much on the fence as I am. He even ends with the phrase, "Qui Vivra Verra", which isn't all that different to  my comment, "time will tell".

[/quote]

"much more"....."slightly more"....to some degree we are splitting hairs, and to some degree our interpretation (and thus choice of words) is a reflection of our personal perspective on this project in general. 

I tend to like disruptive technologies and market approaches - while they are very much long shots, that is where quantum change occurs.  Disruptive change (almost by definition) comes from outside the field being changed, so naturally there will be significant objection, push back and denial from the incumbent market players (which we are seeing in this case).

Here is another example of disruptive change that may be very useful to us at some point:

Ignorance led to invention of stem cell technique, Discoverer was freed by what he didn’t know

Dr. Charles Vacanti is an unlikely protagonist for one of the most startling scientific discoveries in years.

The genial 63-year-old anesthesiologist who left stem cell scientists shaking their heads in wonder and puzzlement last week, with the discovery that a simple acid bath could be used to generate powerful stem cells, doesn’t even have a PhD.


http://tinyurl.com/Boston-Globe-Stem-Cell-Discov

Back to the Immunity Project: The odds are very, very much against this project and everyone putting money in should understand the odds.  However, for the cost of a few cheesburgers, DVDs, or Lattes that the donors give up to fund this project (and acknowledging that this is not a scam) what have we got to loose?  If the answer to what we have to loose is that it creates false hope -- well, the traditional approach has not provided an alternative....yet.

qui vivra verra, yes time will tell - and the more research trials that are done the less time that it will take. 
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline xinyuan

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2014, 10:59:52 AM »
I view research similar to navigating unknown seas.

If you happen to discover "land" (and even an entire "continent" = super-effective treatment or cure), awesome! And this has happened many times in medicine.

However, back then, our understanding of biology was more limited. Nowadays,  researchers have literally mapped out a lot more. There are still fuzzy areas to explore, but we have more refined models to navigate.

So, research has become more and more focused with clearer targets to reach. There have also been far more successes with focused research. Practically most of the ART's are perfect examples.

When some group like the Immunity Project comes along and HOPES for success, it's almost no different than sailing blindly (or shooting in the dark). We'd all like them to succeed. At the same time, we don't expect much.

Regardless if they use Kickstarter or other methods to raise funds, money is money - be it from charity, government, direct from people, etc. Most people here appear more concerned if 1) they're misleading everyone and/or 2) they're wasting or stealing the money.

So long as they aren't doing anything ethically questionable, aren't diverting funds from other promising HIV projects, and actually carrying out their mission, I see no problem.

BTW, I question their view of elite controllers as the ideal model. Elite controllers aren't as successful at controlling HIV as we think. That being said, I do think that population a good start.

http://tagbasicscienceproject.typepad.com/tags_basic_science_vaccin/2014/02/defining-elite-controllers.html
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 11:13:17 AM by xinyuan »

Offline Dr.Strangelove

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #34 on: February 17, 2014, 06:43:28 PM »
That's the same article Jmarksto linked to a week ago. I got all excited because I thought you found a new article with more information. ;D

Oh, I'm sorry, I must have missed Jmarksto's post!


But here's a new article (hopefully :) ):

WIRED: Crowdfunded free HIV vaccine: as unlikely as it sounds

It's fairly detailed, though not really more favourable.

Offline Cosmicdancer

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Re: The Immunity Project - The FREE HIV Vaccine
« Reply #35 on: February 24, 2014, 05:34:43 PM »
This article is obviously written by a lay person who doesn't uses bizarre terminology in describing the vaccine research that the Immunity Project is planning to fund (ie., By hacking and analysing their blood, experts will attempt to unlock key factors on why HIV controllers are able to retain very low viral loads and unable to develop AIDS.)  The article does say that Microsoft donated $1 million towards this project, so perhaps there are credible people in the scientific community behind it.

HIV Cure: Immunity Project Plans Free Vaccine for Global Use Based on Blood of Naturally Immune Infected People

By Ryan Inoyori | February 24, 2014 1:54 PM EST

Experts are looking into possibilities of AIDS cure from HIV-infected patients called "controllers" who contracted the virus but never got sick. The Immunity Project aims to create free HIV vaccine for global population based on the blood from HIV controllers.

HIV Controllers Research

Immunity against HIV/AIDS is a very rare state and people called HIV controllers with this natural trait may be the key to unlock the first free and functional vaccine. HIV controllers have the natural ability to become immune against the dangerous effects of HIV such as getting sick due to opportunistic infections or reaching latent stage known as AIDS.

For every 300 people with HIV, only one of them has the natural immunity to the virus and can live without immediate needs for antiretroviral since the disease do not progress to AIDS.

Researchers are looking into this superhuman biological trait in order to figure out the blood pattern and proteins which made HIV controllers immune to the virus.

"We believe that controllers are an important part of moving forward with vaccine development because they are clearly doing something right in defending against the virus," Dr Reid Rubsamen, CEO of the Immunity Project told Healthline.

Researchers will use the latest technology based on computerised analysis to find which part of controllers' blood are able to fight off or resist the HIV infection and latent effects.

The Immunity Project

The help of computer scientists from different universities and industries will allow the non-profit organisation called The Immunity Project to focus on determining HIV life cycle on controllers.

By hacking and analysing their blood, experts will attempt to unlock key factors on why HIV controllers are able to retain very low viral loads and unable to develop AIDS.

"These beneficial targets have been identified by researchers in university laboratories and private industry who have used computer-assisted statistical analysis to essentially reverse engineer the targets on the HIV virus preferred by the controller's T-cells," Dr Rubsamen explained.

Statistical analysis of T-cells behaviour from blood of controllers revealed that they attack specified targets on the virus which forces it to weakened state and unable to progress to develop full-blown AIDS.

Creation of Vaccine

Their findings about special traits of HIV controllers pave way to the development of HIV vaccine and according to the Immunity project, these targets have been formulated into the Flow Pharma vaccine candidate.

A vaccine based on HIV controllers' design will allow non-infected HIV people to become HIV controllers themselves - somewhat spreading immunity against a fast-spreading virus. If the vaccine works perfectly in other humans, HIV/AIDS epidemic may come to an end very soon.

Due to their game-changing planning, the Immunity Project already received great funding and still continues. Microsoft donated $1 million for the effort but still require more than $100,000 in order to advance to clinical trials of using human blood in mice.

To contact the editor, e-mail: editor@ibtimes.com

http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/540163/20140224/hiv-cure-immunity-project-plans-free-vaccine.htm#.UwvG7uNdXa4
Summer, 2007 - &$#@?
November, 2007 - Tested poz, 300,000 vl, 560 cd4
Feb, 2008 - 57,000 vl, 520 cd4, started Atripla
June, 2008 - undetectable, 612 cd4
January, 2009 - undetectable, 670 cd4
May, 2009 - undetectable, 593 cd4
Sept, 2009 - 83 vl, 763 cd4, 34%
Dec, 2009 - undetectable, 889 cd4, 32%
April, 2010 - undetectable, 860 cd4, 31%
October, 2010 - undetectable, 800 cd4, 38%
April, 2011 - undetectable, t-cell test not done
October, 2011 - undetectable
April, 2012 - undetectable, 850 cd4, 39%
November, 2012 - undetectable, 901 cd4, 41%
April, 2013 - undetectable, 846 cd4, 36%
October, 2013 - undetectable
May, 2014 - undetectable, 784 cd4, 48%

 


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