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   Person in charge: Barbara Ensoli
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Research activity of the Division "Pathogenesis of Retroviruses"

Director: Maurizio Federico PhD

Study of the anti-HIV protease inhibitors as new anti-HIV microbicides
Effective anti-HIV microbicides are expected to help in reducing HIV transmission. Unfortunately, drugs tested so far in clinical trials resulted ineffective in preventing HIV infection. Thus, finding new ways to hamper HIV transmission is still an urgent priority. Concerning the mechanism of HIV transmission, several hypotheses have been proposed. Among these, the capture of HIV by dendritic cells (DCs) upon contact with infected cells at the site of infection is considered a critical step in HIV primary infection. Hence, to inhibit the HIV uptake in DCs could be considered of outmost relevance for setting new prophylactic anti-HIV strategies. In this...

Published 11-08-2010 in Research activity , last update 03-28-2014 More...


Research activity of the Division "Virus-host Interaction (Immunology Core Lab)

Director: Paolo Monini, PhD

Humoral responses in HIV infection and upon vaccination with HIV/SIV immunogens
Humoral responses against structural viral antigens are very frequent in all HIV-1 infected individuals. In contrast, the prevalence of anti-Tat antibodies is, overall, low in HIV-1 infected individuals, but significantly higher in the long-term non-progressor (Rezza G. et al., J. Infect. Dis. 2005). Moreover, many infected individuals display anti-HIV neutralizing antibodies, which are not capable of controlling infection or blocking disease progression. The study of vaccine- or infection-induced humoral responses in animal models and humans is therefore key for the understanding of viral pathogenesis, the characterization of responses to vaccines...

Published 11-03-2010 in Research activity , last update 03-28-2014 More...


Research activity of the Division "Experimental Retrovirology and Non-Human Primate Models."

Director: Fausto Titti, PhD

Mucosal transmission of HIV-1 infection.
Mucosal surfaces comprise the largest surface area of the human body and are the first line of defense against many pathogens. Over 90% of common infectious disease pathogens in humans gain access to the host through mucosal membranes both in horizontal (sexual intercourse) and vertical transmission (child delivery and breast-feeding). Viruses such as poliovirus, herpes virus directly infect the epithelial cells and are therefore more easily transmitted as compared to HIV. In fact, the mucosal cells present at the port of entry are not considered among the preferential target for HIV infection. The mucosal tissue contains several immune cells, including antigen presenting cells (APC) such...

Published 10-10-2010 in Research activity , last update 03-28-2014 More...


Research activity of the Division "Clinical Trials (Immunology and Virology Core-Lab)

Director (acting): Barbara Ensoli,

This division is structured in 4 units (Clinical Trial Core Laboratory (Unit ISS/IFO; Clinical Trial Management; Data analysis and validation; Preclinical validation) aimed at the conduction of clinical trials based on novel vaccine candidates for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and on novel approaches for the treatment of tumors in HIV+ or seronegative patients. The division is engaged in performing the activities related to the preparation and conduction of these trials, including the toxicological and pharmacodynamic evaluation of vaccine candidates and of novel anti-tumor agents in animal models (mice, rabbits); the preparation of the dossier for human use approval of novel vaccine candidates and anti-tumor agents; the...

Published 10-09-2010 in Research activity , last update 03-28-2014 More...


research activity of the Division "Retrovirus Infections in Developing Countries"

Director: Stefano Buttò, PhD

Epidemiological, immunological, virological and molecular studies in developing countries
It is estimated that more than 60 million people have been infected by HIV so far, worldwide. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region mostly hit by HIV infection, but high prevalence and incidence of HIV infection are found in other geographical areas from Asia and Latin America. HIV infection has a dramatic impact in these geographical areas, since it can drive health, as well as economic and social problems. In fact, young adults, who are the economic engine of a nation, are the main targets of this infection. As a consequence, the country economy may be severely weakened and the social equity dramatically unbalanced.
The National AIDS...

Published 09-26-2007 in Research activity , last update 03-28-2014 More...


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