A team of researchers from the Université de Montréal and the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) have announced an important breakthrough in fighting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). For the first time, scientists have identified a defect in the immune response to HIV and found a way to correct the flaw. Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, an eminent researcher in cell biology, immunology, and virology, has confirmed the identification of a new therapeutic target (the PD-1 protein) that restores the function of the T cells whose role is to eliminate cells infected with the virus. This constitutes a major breakthrough, opening new prospects for the development of therapeutic strategies for controlling HIV infection. The research findings appear in today's issue of the journal Nature Medicine.
Dr. Sékaly explained that "immune system cells made non-functional by HIV can be identified by the presence of a protein that is significantly overexpressed when infected by the virus." In fact, high levels of the protein are associated with a more serious dysfunction. "The most important discovery made in this study arises from the fact that by stimulating this protein, we succeeded in preventing the virus from making immune system cells dysfunctional," he added.
The findings were simultaneously reproduced by two other laboratories – the labs headed by Dr. Bruce Walker at Harvard and Dr. Richard Koup at the NIH. "It's a rare occurrence for three teams to work together on attacking a major problem. Up until now, the virus has been more or less invincible. By combining our efforts, we found the missing link that may enable us to defeat the virus," noted Dr. Sékaly. Discussions with partners are also underway to translate these research findings into clinical trials, which could start during the coming year.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the Université de Montréal, the CHUM Research Centre, Génome Québec, Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the NIH, and the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ), Quebec continues to show great leadership in the life sciences.
Paul L'Archevêque and Martin Godbout, the presidents of Génome Québec and Genome Canada respectively, saluted the vision of the research team and the importance for Quebec and Canada of continuing to invest in genomics research. "The $14 million invested in this project certainly played a role in accelerating the researchers' work, and in helping Montreal to remain competitive on the international scene," noted the agency heads, adding that Dr. Sékaly's team was the first in the world to present the findings of this major study.
"The results of Dr. Sekaly's study represent an important step in the development of a new therapeutic approach in the fight against HIV," said Dr. Alan Bernstein, CIHR President. "This study is a compelling example of the excellence of Canadian health researchers and of Canada's contribution to the world's response to the HIV-AIDS pandemic."
"This important discovery is a powerful example of what can be achieved through partnership," added Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. "Canada is proud to have researchers of Dr. Sékaly's calibre keeping our country at the forefront of the global fight against HIV-AIDS."
Dr. Mark Wainberg, Co-Director of the FRSQ-AIDS and infectious diseases Network and Co-Chair of the 16th World AIDS Conference held in Toronto last week, congratulated Dr. Sékaly and his team: "This scientific breakthrough is a giant step in the fight against AIDS. It is particularly interesting to see that some of the best research teams are working together to stop this terrible curse."
Sophie Langlois | EurekAlert!
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News