Viral infection following stem cell transplantation (SCT) is a common complication following this procedure, performed for the treatment of blood cancers. One such pathogen is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common community-acquired infection that leads to significant morbidity in immunocompromised patients such as SCT recipients. Current treatment strategies using anti-viral agents are ineffective and thus this complication remains a significant clinical problem where new treatments are desperately needed. To address this, a better understanding of the immunological mechanisms which underlie this complication are essential. We have published extensively using preclinical models of stem cell transplantation to understand disease pathogenesis.
RSV infection modulates host innate and acquired mucosal immune responses to drive increased graft-versus-host disease after stem cell transplantation.
The specific aim of this project is to establish a robust model of RSV infection in the stem cell transplant setting using Pneumonia Virus of Mice (PVM), the murine relative of RSV. This will enable the interrogation of the mechanisms that contribute to acute GVHD in the context of an RSV infection.
Approaches / Techniques to be utilised
This project is not limited to, but will involve, extensive animal work, flow cytometry, immunological assays, molecular and viral techniques.