Balancing Immune Response to HIV

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Innate immune cells, in the right proportion, can protect against infection by SIV, HIV’s close cousin.
SIV and HIV are particularly tricky to develop a vaccine for, because they infect adaptive immune cells (T cells) that usually help the immune system “remember” the vaccine, and respond when exposed to the virus later.
This means innate immune cells must be stimulated by a vaccine, and researchers in the Franchini Lab found that the balance of these cells also matters. Certain cell types (blue) may be better ringleaders in an innate immune response, and may even send signals that help protect vulnerable T cells.
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Illustration by Falconieri Visuals in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR) “Milestones”, based on research by the Franchini Lab:
Vaccari, Monica et al. “HIV vaccine candidate activation of hypoxia and the inflammasome in CD14+ monocytes is associated with a decreased risk of SIVmac251 acquisition.” Nature medicine vol. 24,6 (2018): 847-856. doi:10.1038/s41591-018-0025-7