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Protection Against HIV Disease by Augmentation of Gut Defenses

Dennis Hartigan-O'Connor of the University of California at San Francisco in the U.S. will test whether expanding Th17 cell populations, a subset of CD4 T cells that protect the gastrointestinal tract against microbes, can augment the gut's general defenses and protect against the acute and chronic effects of HIV. In this project's Phase I research, Hartigan-O'Connor and colleagues tested this hypothesis in macaques and found that the Th17 population present before SIV infection has a lasting impact on the course of disease and that natural variability in Th17 populations might partly account for variability in control of SIV infection. In Phase II, the team will test the idea that an oral drug can be used to pharmacologically manipulate Th17 populations in vivo in young macaques, the goal being enhanced control of retroviral replication.

More information about Create New Ways to Prevent or Cure HIV Infection (Round 1)

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.