Laboratory of Vaccinology and Mucosal Immunity
Research focus on a better comprehension of different immunodeficiencies in humans. Three different immunodeficiency states are investigated, the immunodeficiency of childhood, the immunodeficiency of patients suffering from tuberculosis, and those associated with congenital immunodeficiencies. This work is at least partially based on the characterization of humoral and cellular immune responses to different infectious agents / or the correponding vaccine antigens. Therefore, we approach different questions of vaccinology with the hope to develop new strategies for better vaccine protection. In addition as the pathogens most often infect humans by the mucosal route, we characterize the immune reponses both within the blood and locally at the site of the infection. As we mostly aimed at the development of clinical immunology, our laboratory comprises medical doctors, scientists, and technicians.
Immune deficiency in human tuberculosis (first part)
One third of the world population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Fortunately, only 5% of them will develop a tuberculosis. The factors leading to the development of active tuberculosis in infected subjects are uncompletely understood and we have no biomarker of risk of development of tuberculosis. Three projects are devoted to this theme in our lab, all being financed by European Projects. 1. Caracterization of the immune reponses to the heparin binding haemagglutinin in M. tuberculosis infected people. (European Project NEWTBVAC). As only methylated HBHA is a protective antigen, we analyse the role of the metylation of HBHA in the induction of protection. Clinical assays with new vaccines will need knowledge about biomarkers of protection and disease. By comparing the immune responses from infected and non diseased subjects to those from patients with active disease, we search for the identification of new biomarkers of protection and disease. Some biomarkers of disease were already identified and we have shown that they can be used as new diagnostic markers of TB. These tests are now validaded in different cohorts of patients. Regulatory T cells specifically induced by mycobacterial antigens were identified as biomarkers of disease so that we are now workineg at the characterisation of these cells and we investigate the mechanism of their induction/ regulation.