Virus-derived anti-inflammatory therapeutics
Successful viruses are very good at circumventing the host immune system by releasing a variety of immunomodulatory virulence factors. The benefit here is that viruses have often spent tens of hundreds of millions of years doing “research and development” on these immunomodulatory agents. With molecular biology, we can taken advantage of this R&D investment for alternative purposes. One such example is Myxoma virus, the causative agent of myxomatosis in European rabbits. My supervisor, Dr. Alexandra Lucas, has taken a number of these virulence factors and repurposed them into first-in-class therapeutics for inflammatory diseases. Previous examples include Serp-1, Serp-2, M-T7 and M013. I am working on adapting a new Myxoma virus virulence factor into an anti-inflammatory treatment.