The Malaghan Institute is investigating the role of the immune system in infectious diseases such as influenza, hepatitis B and parasitic infection to find new opportunities for treatments and cures.
Understanding how infectious agents, whether virus, bacteria or parasite, influence and modulate the human immune system to avoid detection and expulsion from the body is a key area of research at the Malaghan Institute. Not only is it helping shape new avenues for treating infectious diseases, but it is creating opportunities for targeting and treating overreactive immune conditions such as asthma and allergy, and has applications in cancer research.
Parasitic worms show a remarkable ability to selectively modulate the human immune system to avoid detection and expulsion without disrupting the rest of the immune system, offering a unique insight on how we might use them to improve human health. Additionally, by better understanding how these worms achieve this, we’re investigating ways to prevent chronic worm infections in humans in those situations where the level of parasite infection can be harmful.
The breakthrough application of novel natural killer T-cell activating agents to drive targeted vaccines by the Cancer Immunotherapy team has moved into the next phase of development through Avalia Immunotherapies, investigating when it might prove useful in preventing chronic hepatitis B in humans.