Francisco Quintana

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This week we profile a recent publication in PNAS from the laboratory of
Dr. Francisco Quintana (pictured) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

My lab is focused on the mechanisms that control central nervous system (CNS) inflammation and neurodegeneration, with the goal of identifying novel therapeutic approaches. As part of these studies we use clinical samples, and mouse and zebrafish animal models, in combination with novel bioinformatic, genomic and proteomic approaches to study multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, and also neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Our studies investigate the role in disease pathology of CNS-resident cells, such as astrocytes, microglia and oligodendrocytes, as well as the contribution of peripheral immune cells such as T cells, dendritic cells and monocytes.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

We developed a novel nanomaterial-based approach for antigen-specific immune modulation. This novel approach allows us to suppress disease-promoting pro-inflammatory immune responses involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune and allergic disorders, without impairing the ability of the immune system to fight off pathogens and tumors. Of note, this novel approach is based on compounds already in use in humans, maximizing its potential for translation.

What are the next steps for this research?

We are currently extending this approach for the treatment of other autoimmune and allergic disorders. In addition, we are using this approach to generate immune tolerance against therapeutic proteins (e.g. recombinant Factor VIII) and viral vectors used for gene therapy.

Read the Publication