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Clinical Trials


Pilot Trial of the Effect of Vorinostat and AGS-004 on Persistent HIV-1 Infection (VORVAX)

This study is currently recruiting participants. (see Contacts and Locations)

Verified September 2016 by Cynthia L Gay, MD

Cynthia L Gay, MD

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Information provided by (Responsible Party)
Cynthia L Gay, MD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Identifier

First received: March 3, 2016
Last updated: September 20, 2016
Last Verified: September 2016
History of Changes


The purpose of this research study is to 1) evaluate the safety of a series of injections with the AGS-004 product in combination with a series of Vorinostat doses and 2) to help scientists evaluate ways of reactivating latent (non-acting) HIV virus and determine if the immune system can be made stronger to eliminate the activated HIV virus.

Condition Intervention Phase
HIV-1 Infection

Drug : Vorinostat
Biological : AGS-004
Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: IGHID 11424 - A Pilot Trial of the Effect of Vorinostat and AGS-004 on Persistent HIV-1 Infection (The VOR VAX Study)

Further study details as provided by Cynthia L Gay, MD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:

Primary Outcome Measures

  • Occurrence of at least one ≥ Grade 3 adverse event including signs/symptoms, lab toxicities, and/or clinical events that is possibly or definitely related to VOR or AGS-004 any time from the first day of study treatment through the end of study. [ Time Frame: First day of study treatment to between approximately week 73 and week 96 on study ]
    Safety data will include local and systemic signs and symptoms, laboratory measures of safety/toxicity, and all adverse and serious adverse events. Safety data will be routinely collected throughout the duration of the study.
  • Change in the frequency of HIV infection per million resting CD4+T cells (RCI) from baseline to post-VOR/AGS. [ Time Frame: First day of study treatment to between approximately week 43 and week 72 on study ]
    Change in the frequency of HIV infection per million resting CD4+T cells (RCI) from baseline to post-VOR/AGS.

Estimated Enrollment: 12
Study Start Date: March 2016
Estimated Study Completion Date: December 2019
Estimated Primary Completion Date: March 2018 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Vorinostat + AGS-004
Vorinostat (VOR) 400 mg PO - single dose at Step 2 (Enrollment) and two paired doses of VOR 400 mg PO at Step 3 if no clinically significant adverse events and a statistically significant increase in the rca-RNA after the first VOR dose is observed. Step 5 - AGS-004 vaccination. AGS-004 product will be delivered in three intradermal (ID) injections of 0.2 mL (0.6 mL total volume) for a total of 1.2 x 10-7 viable cells. AGS-004 will be administered every 3 weeks for 4 doses.
Drug: Vorinostat
  • At Step 2 (Enrollment) - subjects receive a single oral dose of Vorinostat (VOR) 400 mg.
  • Step 3 - Paired VOR dosing. If there are no clinically significant adverse events and a statistically significant increase in the rca-RNA after the first VOR dose is observed, two paired doses of VOR 400 mg PO will be administered to subjects.
  • Step 6 - VOR dosing. Approximately 7- 10 days after the 4th dose of AGS-004 in Step 5 (Visit 13), ten (10) doses of VOR 400 mg PO will be administered at 72 hour intervals.
  • Steps 7 & 8 - Repeat cycles of AGS-004 and VOR. Participants will undergo a second series of 4 AGS-004 vaccinations (Step 7) followed by 10 doses of VOR 400 mg PO (Step 8).

Other Name: Zolinza
Biological: AGS-004
  • Step 5 - AGS-004 vaccination. AGS-004 product will be delivered in three intradermal injections of 0.2 mL (0.6 mL total volume) for a total of 1.2 x 107 viable cells. AGS-004 will be administered every 3 weeks for 4 doses.
  • Steps 7 & 8 - Repeat cycles of AGS-004 and VOR. Participants will undergo a second series of 4 AGS-004 vaccinations (Step 7) followed by 10 doses of VOR 400 mg PO (Step 8).

Detailed Description:

Purpose: Phase I study to measure the potential of AGS-004 combined with Vorinostat to: 1) stimulate expression of persistent proviral HIV from resting CD4+ cells, 2) generate an HIV-specific immune response, and 3) when combined, clear persistent infection in HIV-infected participants in whom viral replication and spread is inhibited by uninterrupted antiretroviral therapy (ART).
This is a phase I, single-site, pilot study intended to evaluate the association of serial AGS-004 vaccinations in combination with serial VOR doses on the expression of persistent proviral HIV, HIV-specific immune responses, and the frequency of resting CD4+T cell infection. Twelve participants with durable viral suppression will be enrolled. All participants will receive the same treatment and doses of AGS-004 and VOR and continue their baseline ART regimen throughout the study.



Ages Eligible for Study: 18 Years to 64 Years  
Sexes Eligible for Study: All  
Accepts Healthy Volunteers: Yes  


Inclusion Criteria:

    1. Confirmation of HIV-1 infection HIV infection is defined as documentation by any licensed rapid HIV test or HIV enzyme or chemiluminescence immunoassay (E/CIA) test kit at any time prior to study entry and confirmed by a licensed Western blot or a second antibody test by a method other than the initial rapid HIV and/or E/CIA, or by HIV-1 antigen, plasma HIV-1 RNA viral load.

    NOTE: The term "licensed" refers to a US FDA-approved kit.

WHO (World Health Organization) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines mandate that confirmation of the initial test result must use a test that is different from the one used for the initial assessment. A reactive initial rapid test should be confirmed by either another type of rapid assay or an E/CIA that is based on a different antigen preparation and/or different test principle (eg, indirect versus competitive), or a Western blot or a plasma HIV-1 RNA viral load.
  • Ages ≥ 18 to < 65 years old.
  • Karnofsky performance status >70.
  • Ability and willingness of participant to give written informed consent. Note: Due to the lack of foreseeable benefit to study volunteers, illiterate or mentally incompetent volunteers will not be enrolled.
  • Able and willing to provide adequate locator information.
  • Stable ART regimen for ≥ 6 months prior to Screening (Visit 1). NOTE: The ART regimen is defined by current treatment guidelines. Participants may have had one or more changes in their ART regimen for tolerance, change of guidelines, or dosing simplification.
  • On potent antiretroviral therapy, defined as at least 2 nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors plus a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, integrase inhibitor, or a protease inhibitor without interruption (defined as missing doses for more than two consecutive days or more than four cumulative days) in the 24 weeks immediately prior to entry. Other potent fully suppressive antiretroviral combinations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Prior changes in or elimination of medications for easier dosing schedule, intolerance, toxicity, or other reasons are permitted if an alternative suppressive regimen was maintained.
  • All participants must continue cART throughout the study.
  • Able and willing to adhere to protocol therapy and judged adherent to antiretroviral therapy.
  • Plasma HIV-1 RNA< 50 copies/mL at two time points in the previous 6 months and never > 50 copies/mL on two consecutive time points in the last 24 months.

  • A single unconfirmed plasma HIV RNA > limit of detection but < 1000 c/mL allowed if a subsequent assay was below the limit of detection; but none in the 6 months preceding the study screening visit.
  • Plasma HIV-1 RNA < 50 copies/mL at screening (Visit 1).
  • CD4+ cell count ≥ 300 cells/mm3 at screening (Visit 1).
  • Availability of an adequate sample of frozen plasma (may have been thawed and re-frozen only once) drawn no more than 90 days (and preferably within 30 days) before the start of effective ART therapy - defined as the therapy that resulted in HIV RNA suppression to below detectable limits; Note: The VL documented from the HIV plasma sample should preferably be ≥8,000 copies/ml (abstracted from medical records). If there is no viral load measurement associated with the plasma sample, another pre-ART VL measurement of ≥8,000 copies/ml can be used to accept the sample for AGS-004 manufacturing. A plasma sample with <8,000 copies/ml may be acceptable and will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • No history of auto-immune disease or auto-immune manifestations.
  • No active HCV infection (HCV antibody negative or no measureable HCV RNA) within 90 days of enrollment (Visit 3).
  • No active HBV infection (measureable HBV DNA or HBVsAg+) within 90 days of enrollment (Visit 3).
  • Ability and willingness to communicate effectively with study personnel; considered reliable, willing, and cooperative in terms of compliance with the protocol requirements.
  • Adequate vascular access for leukapheresis.
  • Able to swallow pills without difficulty.
  • Able and willing to receive Intradermal (ID) injections without difficulty.
  • Women with written documentation of any of the following:
      1. prior hysterectomy OR bilateral oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries)
      2. bilateral tubal ligation
      3. Women with intact uterus and ovaries who have not had a period for ≥ one year AND have a documented FSH level indicating postmenopausal status.
    1. All male study volunteers must agree not to participate in a conception process (e.g. active attempt to impregnate, sperm donation, in vitro fertilization) and, if participating in sexual activity that could lead to pregnancy, the male study volunteer and his female partner must use two reliable methods of contraception (condoms, with or without a spermicidal agent; a diaphragm or cervical cap with spermicide; an IUD; or hormonal-based contraception) simultaneously while receiving the protocol-specified study products and for 6 weeks after stopping the study products. Participants must use a reliable barrier method of contraception (condom, cervical cap) along with another form of contraception.

    For the female partners of male study volunteers who are receiving ritonavir, estrogen-based contraceptives are not reliable and an alternative method should be suggested.
  • Potential participant must have adequate organ function as indicated by the following laboratory values:

  • System Laboratory Value Hematological Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) ≥1,500 /mcL Platelets ≥125,000 / mcL Hemoglobin ≥ 12 g/dL (males) and ≥ 11.5 g/dL (females) Coagulation Prothrombin Time or INR ≤1.5x upper limit of normal (ULN) Chemistry K+ levels Within normal limits Mg++ levels ≥ 1.2 mEq/L but <1.5 x ULN Glucose Screening serum glucose ≤ Grade 1 (fasting or non-fasting) Albumin ≥ 3.3 g/dL Renal Serum creatinine or calculated ≤1.3 X ULN OR creatinine clearance* ≥60 mL/min for potential participants with creatinine levels > 1.3 X institutional ULN Hepatic Serum total bilirubin Total bilirubin <1.5 X ULN range, unless history of Gilbert's disease or deemed related to treatment with atazanavir. If total bilirubin is elevated, direct bilirubin must be <2 X ULN range.
    AST (SGOT) and ALT (SGPT) ≤ 2.0 X ULN Lipase < 1.6 X ULN Alkaline Phosphatase ≤ 2.5 X ULN
    *Creatinine clearance should be calculated per institutional standard.

    Exclusion Criteria:
      1. Known allergy or sensitivity to the components of the investigational immunotherapy or the components of VOR or its analogs or DSMO.
      2. HIV-2 antibody positive in the absence of a positive HIV-1 Western Blot as measured at the Screening Visit (Visit 1).
      3. Treatment interruption of ART for > 1 month since starting ART from which pre-ART plasma sample was drawn.
      4. Untreated syphilis infection (defined as a positive rapid plasma reagin (RPR) without clear documentation of treatment).
      5. Received any infusion blood product, immune globulin, or hematopoetic growth factors within 90 days prior to study entry.
      6. All women unless there is written documentation of menopause (absence of a period for ≥ one year and/or FSH level indicating menopause), hysterectomy, oophorectomy, or tubal ligation.
      7. All male participants expecting to father children within the projected duration of the study.
      8. Use of any of the following within 90 days prior to screening: immunomodulatory, cytokine, or growth stimulating factors such as systemic cytotoxic chemotherapy, systemic corticosteroids, immune globulin, interferon, cyclosporine, methotrexate, azathioprine, anti-CD25 antibody, IFN, interleukins, interleukin-2 (IL-2), hydroxyurea, thalidomide, sargramostim (granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor [GM-CSF]), growth factors, dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB), thymosin alpha, thymopentin, inosiplex, polyribonucleoside, or diticarb sodium, coumadin, warfarin, or other Coumadin derivative anticoagulants.
      9. Use of the following medications that carry risk of torsade des pointes: amiodarone, arsenic trioxide, astemizole, bepridil, chloroquine, chlorpromazine, cisapride, clarithromycin, diopyramide, dofetilide, domperidone, droperidol, erythromycin, halofantrine, haloperidol, ibutilide, levomethadyl, mesoridazine, methadone, pentamidine, pimozidine, probucol, procanimide, quinidine, sotalol, sparfloxacxin, terfenadine, thioridizine.
      10. Receipt of compounds with HDAC inhibitor-like activity, such as valproic acid within 30 days prior to screening. Potential participants may enroll after a 30-day washout period.
      11. Any investigational antiretroviral agents or use of a CCR5 inhibitor at Screening.
      12. Use of antiretroviral medications that cannot be co-administered with Vorinostat within the 4 weeks of the first dose and anytime thereafter while on the study.
      13. If the HIV care provider or study investigator is unable, as assessed by the study PI or protocol team, to construct a fully active alternative ART regimen based on previous resistance testing and/or treatment history.
      14. Use of systemic corticosteroids or use of topical steroids over a total area exceeding 15 cm2 within 30 days prior to Screening, or anticipated need for periodic use of corticosteroids during the study.

      NOTE: For participants receiving ritonavir (as a booster or protease inhibitor (PI) as part of their ART regimen, the concomitant use of oral/systemic/topical/inhaled/intranasal corticosteroids is prohibited.
    1. Any serious illness requiring systemic treatment or hospitalization, the participant must either complete therapy or be clinically stable on therapy, in the opinion of the site investigator, for at least 90 days prior to entry.
    2. Known history of a bone marrow disorder
    3. Treatment for an active AIDS-defining opportunistic infection within 90 days prior to Screening.
    4. Any active malignancy that may require chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
    5. History of lymph node irradiation or dissection.
    6. Evidence of hepatic decompensation in cirrhotic participants: history of ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, or bleeding esophageal varices.
    7. History or other clinical evidence of significant or unstable cardiac disease (e.g., angina, congestive heart failure, recent myocardial infarction, significant arrhythmia) or clinically significant electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities. Any history of cardiac rhythm disturbance requiring medical or surgical therapy.
    8. Any history of acute or chronic pancreatitis.
    9. Any renal disorder deemed clinically significant by the investigator.
    10. Active autoimmune disease or condition including, but not limited to:

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RF positive arthritis with current or recent flare); Inflammatory bowel disease/ulcerative colitis/Crohn's Disease; Systemic lupus erythematosis (clinical evidence confirmed with ANA >1:80); Ankylosing spondylitis; Hashimoto's disease; Scleroderma; Multiple sclerosis; Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AHA); Thyroiditis Immune thrombocytopenic purpura; and, Type I diabetes mellitus (insulin therapy for Type II diabetes is permitted).
  • History or other evidence of severe illness, malignancy, immunodeficiency other than HIV, or any other condition that would make the participant unsuitable for the study in the opinion of the investigator.
  • History of neoplastic disease with extensive involvement of the bone marrow or lymphatic system or participants severely compromised hematopoietic function.
  • Inability to communicate with study personnel.
  • Compulsorily detained (involuntarily incarcerated) for treatment of either a psychiatric illness or a physical illness, e.g., infectious disease.
  • Prisoner recruitment and participation is not permitted.
  • Known psychiatric or substance abuse disorders that would interfere with participant's ability to fully cooperate with the requirements of the trial as assessed by the study investigator.
  • Participation in another investigational clinical research study (with the exception of an antiretroviral treatment trial that uses FDA approved antiretroviral agents) or use of investigational agents within 30 days prior to Screening.

    contacts and locations

    Contacts and Locations

    Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision.Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below.For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

    Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT02707900


    Contact:   JoAnn D Kuruc, MSN, RN 919-966-8533


    United States, North Carolina
    University of North Carolina Hospitals Recruiting
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States, 27599-7030
    Contact: JoAnn D Kuruc, MSN, RN    919-966-8533
    Contact: Kathryn Watson, RN    919-966-8524
    Principal Investigator: David M Margolis, MD, FACP
    Principal Investigator: Cynthia L Gay, MD, MPH
    Sub-Investigator: Joseph J Eron, Jr., MD

    Sponsors and Collaborators

    Cynthia L Gay, MD
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)


    Principal Investigator: David M Margolis, MD, FACP University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    Principal Investigator: Cynthia L Gay, MD, MPH University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    More Information

    More Information

    Responsible Party: Cynthia L Gay, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Identifier: NCT02707900   History of Changes  
    Other Study ID Numbers: 15-1626  
    Study First Received: March 3, 2016  
    Last Updated: September 20, 2016  
    Individual Participant Data    
    Plan to Share IPD: No  

    Keywords provided by Cynthia L Gay, MD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:

    HIV virus

    Additional relevant MeSH terms:
    Communicable Diseases
    HIV Infections
    Vorinostat processed this data on October 16, 2017
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