8th Croucher-Pasteur Exchange Programme: Dr ALBERT

Dr Matthew ALBERT (Department of Immunology, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France) has given a seminar on July 26, 2012 entitled "Biomarkers Lie: new insights into HCV disease pathogenesis and treatment".

Date: Thursday, 26 July 2012

Time: 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Venue: Seminar Room 6, LG1/F, Laboratory Block, Faculty of Medicine Building 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

Abstract: Treatment for chronic HCV is highly effective, however significant numbers of patients fail to achieve cure. We conducted multi-analyte profiling in order to identify pre-treatment predictors of response to therapy and demonstrated that CXCL10 (or IP-10) as an important negative prognostic biomarker. Given that CXCL10 mediates chemo-attraction of activated lymphocytes, it was counter-intuitive as to why this chemokine correlates with therapeutic non-responsiveness. We offered new insight into this paradox and provide evidence that the plasma CXCL10 in chronic HCV patients exists in an antagonist form, due to in situ NH2-terminal truncation of the protein. We provide evidence that dipeptidylpeptidase IV (DPP4 or CD26), possibly in combination with other proteases, mediate the generation of antagonist form(s) of CXCL10. These data provided the first evidence for CXCL10 antagonism in human disease, and provides a possible contributing factor for why patients fail to clear their HCV.

Based on these observations, we propose new screening tools for managing HCV treatment (and possibly other disease setting); and DPP4 as a novel therapeutic target for enhancing the efficacy of therapy in chronic HCV patients.

Croucher-Pasteur Exchange Programme:

In collaboration with the International Affairs Department of Institut Pasteur and the Croucher Foundation, the Centre is establishing an exchange programme for students and post-doctoral fellows resident in Hong Kong in order to strengthen the scientific collaboration between Hong Kong and France. A 2 to 3 year scholarship covering travel, living and university registration expenses will be available for students and post-doctoral fellows resident in Hong Kong wishing to perform research work in laboratories of Institut Pasteur Paris. A lecture series of Pasteur scientists is organised to enable Hong Kong students to meet personally principal investigators from Institut Pasteur, know their scientific work and prospects of pursuing scientific work in their laboratories.