Grupos del IrsiCaixa Instituto de Investigación del Sida
The IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute is an international landmark and leading centre for research into the eradication of HIV/AIDS and related diseases. IrsiCaixa researchers also tackle other biomedical challenges, such as those associated with the microbiome and emerging infectious diseases.
IrsiCaixa was created as a private non-profit foundation in 1995 with the support of Obra Social “la Caixa” and the Department of Health of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Its director is Dr. Bonaventura Clotet, who is also president of the Fight AIDS Foundation and head of the Infectious Diseases Unit of the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital.
IrsiCaixa is located in this hospital, next to the Fight AIDS Foundation, which makes for a unique model of collaboration between researchers, healthcare professionals, patients and community representatives. This transfer of knowledge between key stakeholders makes for novel solutions that facilitate progress towards eradication of HIV infection.
IrsiCaixa research is based on a combined strategy to eradicate AIDS, based on five strategic lines:
- Prevention, eradication and functional cure: we pursue this line of research by studying various combination strategies, as therapeutic vaccines, antibodies or latency reversing agent drugs, among others.
- Microbiome: we investigate how we can act on the microbiome to help people living with HIV recover immunity and to strengthen the immune response of a therapeutic or preventive vaccine.
- New treatments and resistance to antiretrovirals: we study resistance to antiretrovirals through basic research, technological developments (more accurate and more affordable resistance detection tools), participation in clinical trials of the more powerful drugs and participation in public health initiatives worldwide.
- Immunopathogenesis: studies of HIV have led to major advances in our understanding of the immune system that are also relevant to other diseases. For example, IrsiCaixa researchers discovered Siglec-1 to be the receptor through which HIV is blocked, wrapped and spread to the body via the dendritic cells. IrsiCaixa is currently working on new drugs to block interaction between the virus and dendritic cells and is also exploring this molecular interaction in the context of other diseases, including ebola.
- Other diseases: we evaluate new treatments to cure viral hepatitis in co-infected patients and studies how the immune response to bladder tumour can be improved through mycobacteria vaccines. IrsiCaixa has also developed strategies to prevent and cure human papillomavirus infection and to detect possible cancers derived from this virus. We work with the idea of extending acquired knowledge, in the future, to other emerging infectious diseases, for example, through the development of new drugs
The eight research groups and some 60 researchers based at IrsiCaixa carry out translational research in collaboration with research and healthcare centres worldwide. IrsiCaixa also participates in clinical trials to evaluate novel therapeutic strategies and cooperates with low-income countries in the global fight against the pandemic.