Virus:host interactions: implications for tropism, treatment and targeting.
In this projekt we study how viruses bind to host cells. Our findings can be used to better understand virus pathogenesis, to develop more efficient viral vectors for gene a and cancer therapy, and, for development of antiviral drugs.
In order to replicate, viruses have to get into a living cell. This is almost always preceeded by an interaction between the virus and specific components (receptors) on the surface of the host cell. In this project we identify and characterise these components and their interactions. The long term goal is to use the results to develop antiviral drugs, but also for design and development of viral vectors, that can be used for treatment of cancer, monogenetic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and as vaccines.
In this project we work with adenoviruses, picornaviruses, influenza A viruses and noroviruses as model systems to obtain information about the early events in the life cycle of a virus. These viruses cause infections in the eyes, airways, intestine, urinary tract etc. This information can be used to design viral vectors that for example will be used to kill cancer cells, or for delivering functional genes to patients suffering from monogenetic diseases. Here it is very important to guide the vectors to the right cells.
Another application of our research is that it may be possible to design "binding inhibitors" that block viruses from binding to their host cell receptors. Currently we are evaluating the efficiency of a binding inhibitor, in patients, for treatment of ocular infections caused by adenoviruses.