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About Us

ADARC's NEW GRANT AWARDS


August 23, 2017
Dr. David Ho was awarded a 2-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The study will be to conduct the “First-in-human Clinical Evaluation of 10E8.4/iMab, a Potent and Broad Bispecific Antibody against HIV”

While pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) using antiviral drugs has gained traction as an HIV prevention strategy, the daily use of drugs poses a significant adherence problem, thereby limiting its effectiveness.  Passive administration of a potent HIV-neutralizing antibody on an infrequent basis could be a better alternative, provided that the chosen antibody possesses suitable characteristics to improve HIV primary prevention for those at greatest risk.  Under this funded proposal, the Ho lab will advance the bispecific antibody* 10E8.4/iMab, a new potent and broad agent against HIV, identified by the Ho team, into a first-in-human clinical trial to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics, and antiviral properties of this novel bispecific antibody to determine its potential as a novel prophylactic agent against HIV.

* A bispecific monoclonal antibody is a protein engineered to simultaneously bind to two different types of antigen.

August 15, 2017
Dr. Masahiro Yamashita was awarded a 4-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to examine Diverse Functions of HIV-1 Capsid during Postentry Events”

It remains critical to develop antiretroviral drugs that can prevent the emergence of drug resistance. This project aims at deciphering molecular and cellular basis of diverse functions executed by the HIV-1 capsid core -- a key viral molecule that has not yet been explored as an antiviral target. We expect that our study may reveal novel vulnerability that could form the basis of future drug design strategies.

July 25, 2017
Dr. David Ho received a 5-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This study will be to generateBispecific-Antibody-Drug Conjugates for Selective Targeting and Activation of the HIV Latent Reservoir”

Latent HIV reservoirs, primarily comprised of HIV-infected and long-lived subpopulations of CD4+ T cells, are established during the earliest stage of infection.  While currently available antiretroviral therapies can reduce the level of HIV in blood to an undetectable level, they cannot eliminate the latent reservoir, thereby imposing a major obstacle to curing the infection.  One strategy to purge the latent reservoir is to “wake” the infectious provirus from its “sleep” using latency reversal agents (LRAs).  However, the potential toxicities related to the exposure of nearly all of the cells in the body to these LRAs remain a major concern.  The Ho lab is harnessing the exquisite specificity of bispecific antibodies in order to generate bispecific antibody drug conjugates that selectively deliver LRAs to the fraction of cells harboring latent HIV. This could happen while minimizing LRA exposure to the majority of cells in the body that do not harbor latent HIV.  By doing so, the Ho lab aims to identify one or several engineered bispecific antibody drug conjugates that could become a key component in our multi-pronged approach to curing HIV infection through eliminating the latent reservoir.

July 13, 2017
Dr. Masahiro Yamashita received a 1-year award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study Single-Cell Analysis of HIV Replication”

Individual cells infected with HIV-1 may differ from each other in their ability to produce virus particles. Such differences could have profound impacts on the way HIV-1 proliferates and persists in humans. The goal of this project is to study a role of cell-to-cell variation during HIV-1 replication and its underlying mechanisms.

July 6, 2017
Dr. David Ho was awarded a 5-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The project focuses onBispecific and Trispecific Anti-Env Antibodies for Eliminating HIV Reservoir Cells”

Several clinical observations have suggested that limiting or purging the HIV latent reservoir could delay viral rebound and hint at a pathway for HIV eradication.  However, the exact form of such a treatment and how to give it to the larger HIV infected population remains unclear.  Antibodies constitute a powerful weapon that may be able to tackle this problem.  They can bind to and neutralize the infectivity of HIV particles, and can also mediate the killing of cells productively infected with HIV via antibody-inherent mechanisms such as antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC).  Under this funded proposal, the Ho lab will engineer a library of HIV multi-specific antibodies in order to identify the top candidates with enhanced capacity for the killing of infected cells.  By doing so, they hope to identify potent bispecific antibodies that can destroy HIV-infected cells and reduce the size of the latent reservoir, with the ultimate goal of identifying a therapeutic candidate that could become a powerful part of a new treatment strategy for HIV eradication.