Cytotoxic T-cells and HIV: Can a Partially Effective Immune Response Be Improved to Cure Infection?

  • Speaker
  • Brad Jones, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Immunology in Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
Date & Time

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Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
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Cytotoxic T-cells (CTL) represent an arm of the immune system that specializes in recognizing and eliminating virus-infected cells. In untreated infection, these cells play a critical role in delaying the progression of HIV to AIDS but ultimately fail in the majority of infected individuals. Modern medications can fully suppress HIV replication, but do not cure infection due to the persistence of a small reservoir of HIV infected cells. CTL also hold promise as a means of eradicating these remaining HIV reservoirs, but substantial challenges remain to realize this potential.

In this lecture, Brad Jones will present the evidence supporting a role for the CTL response in determining rates of HIV progression. He will discuss different approaches to enhancing CTL-mediated immune control, including efforts to refocus this response towards vulnerable parts of the virus and a means of enhancing CTL function through nanotechnology. He will also give a perspective on the prospects for harnessing CTL to cure HIV infection. First, he will provide an overview on how viral latency may protect infected cells from elimination, and then focus on his recent work in studying how complexities in the proviral DNA landscape may influence the susceptibility of infected cells to elimination.

About the Speaker

Brad Jones is an assistant professor of immunology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. He delivered the basic sciences plenary lecture at the 2018 International AIDS Conference. His research focuses on understanding how to maximally harness innate and adaptive cellular immune responses to contribute to the elimination of the HIV reservoirs that persist in individuals on long-term therapy, and thus to inform efforts to cure infection. Work in the Jones laboratory spans from in vitro experiments using a bank of clinical HIV samples, to humanized mice as pre-clinical models of HIV infection, through to clinical trials. A significant component of this work is conducted in the context of the NIH-funded Martin Delaney ‘BELIEVE’ collaboratory, for which Dr. Jones is a principal investigator.  Dr. Jones also holds NIH funding to study novel biomaterials-based approaches to enhance immunotherapy and to develop novel mouse models in which to study HIV infection of the central nervous system.

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