Twins needed for HIV vaccine study

SEATTLE—Sept. 7, 2010—The HIV Vaccine Trials Unit – Seattle (HVTU), a program of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, is looking for pairs of identical or fraternal twins living in Seattle and western Washington to participate in a study of the role of genetics and environment on a research HIV vaccine.

The main purpose of the study is to learn more about how a person's genetic makeup shapes the way the immune system responds to vaccination.

“We know that a person’s genes, passed down from the mother and father, may influence how that person might react to HIV vaccines. However, we don’t know what this influence may look like,” said Janine Maenza, M.D., clinic director of the Seattle HVTU and study co-chair. “We are hoping to better understand the role of genetics by looking at the immune responses of twins to the HIV vaccines in this study. Knowing the answer to this question could help researchers design vaccines with greater potential to help fight HIV.”

Maenza said it is hoped that the study will answer three key questions:

  • How do genes affect the strength of an immune response that vaccines can produce?
  • How do genes affect different immune responses?
  • How do genes affect how safe and comfortable vaccines are for people?

To be eligible, both twins must be HIV negative, ages 18-50, and in general good health. Both must be available to receive vaccinations in Seattle and they must test negative by blood test for adenovirus 5, a common respiratory tract virus. This is a paid study.

Two research HIV vaccines that have been already widely tested in other populations are being tested in this trial, which is called HVTN 082, “The Twin Study.” Study participants cannot become infected with HIV by these vaccines.

The goal is to recruit 80 pairs of twins from three major metropolitan areas: Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston. Those interested in more information should contact the Seattle HVTU at 206-667-7510 or

(Note to editors/reporters: A pair of Seattle twins who have enrolled in The Twin Study” are available for interviews. Please contact Dean Forbes if you are interested in contacting them.)


Dean Forbes
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(206) 667-2896

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