Helena Soares, from Immunobiology and Pathogenesis Lab, was one of the winners of the Gilead Génese Programme. This Programme distinguished Helena’s work and aims to support a project entitled “HIV-1 replication in follicular sanctuaries”.
In HIV-1 patients, the HIV-1 virus persists in cells which are not eliminated by combined anti-retroviral treatment. In these cells, HIV-1 is able to actively replicate and perpetuate the infection of new targets cells, constituting the major obstacle for the cure of HIV-1 infection. Previous studies identified a specific type of cells of the immune system, a subtype T cells known as follicular cells, as the major reservoirs for HIV-1 virus replication, allowing the subsistence of the infection.
With this research Helena Soares will explore how the virus HIV-1 exploits the follicular cell in order to promote its replication and will test the ability of some drugs to inhibit the replication of HIV-1 in the viral sanctuaries in vivo. Studying the interaction between the follicular cells and HIV-1 can lead to the discovery of new therapeutic targets and promote a functional cure to HIV infected patients.
The Gilead Génese Programme was created in 2013 with the goals of encouraging scientific research and improving patients’s quality of life. Every year awards financing to promising research and community driven projects.
More information about the program here.