HIV breakthrough: Researchers identify protein that fights immunodeficiency

    Scientists publish findings in advance online edition of Nature Medicine

    MONTREAL, March 3 /CNW Telbec/ - A Canada-U.S. research team has solved a
major genetic mystery: How a protein in some people's DNA guards them against
killer immune diseases such as HIV. In an advance online edition of Nature
Medicine, the scientists explain how the protein, FOX03a, shields against
viral attacks and how the discovery will help in the development of a HIV
    "HIV infection is characterised by the slow demise of T-cells, in
particular central memory cells, which can mediate lifelong protection against
viruses," said lead researcher Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, a Université de Montréal
professor and a researcher at the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de
Montréal and the French Institut national de la santé et de la recherche
médicale (Inserm).
    "Our group has found how the key protein, FOX03a, is vital to the
survival of central memory cells that are defective in HIV-infected
individuals even if they are treated," added Dr. Sékaly, who produced his
study with CHUM and Inserm colleagues including Elias El Haddad and Julien van
Grevenynghe. Collaborators also included Jean-Pierre Routy, a McGill
University Health Centre researcher and professor at McGill University and
Robert S. Balderas, Vice-President of Research and Development at BD
Biosciences of San Diego, CA.

    To read the rest of this news release, please consult

For further information:

For further information: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins, International press
attaché, Université de Montréal, (514) 343-7593,; Chantal Huot, Communications advisor,
Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, (514) 890-8000, ext. 15380,

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Université de Montréal

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Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM)

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