IrsiCaixa joins the BEAT-HIV consortium to test new immunotherapies against HIV

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02/05/2017

IrsiCaixa joins the BEAT-HIV consortium to test new immunotherapies against HIV

ICREA Research Professor Javier Martínez-Picado, head of the IrsiCaixa Retrovirology and Clinical Studies group, is one of the researchers of this consortium

The IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute is one of the more than 30 research institutions that are part of the international BEAT-HIV consortium, focused on designing immunotherapies to cure HIV infection. ICREA Research Professor Javier Martínez-Picado, head of the IrsiCaixa Retrovirology and Clinical Studies group, is one of the researchers of this consortium, composed of institutions that work together with government, non-profit organizations and industry partners to test combinations of several novel immunotherapies under new preclinical research and clinical trials.

The BEAT-HIV consortium has three main goals. First of them, discovering where the HIV reservoir hides. HIV-infected cells that remain latently infected in the body represent the viral reservoir, which cannot be detected by the immune system. The reservoir is the reason why treatment cannot be interrupted, and the only way to destroy it is awakening it to detect the hiding places and destroy all infected cells with an effective immune response.

The second goal is making the immune system stronger against HIV, by combining medication and antibodies to neutralize the virus. Thirdly, the goal is introducing cells (“killers cells”) into the patients that would seek out and kill the cells in which HIV hides. Some previous studies have already done something similar, but these “killer cells” became infected themselves and lost their effectiveness. The BEAT-HIV consortium aims to remove a protein from these cells that makes them easier to be infected, making them resistant, and then introduce them into patients to destroy cells with hidden HIV.

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Irsi Caixa

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'La Caixa' Foundation Generalitat de Catalunya - Departament de Salut

 

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