Immunopathogenesis and immunotherapy of viral hepatitis


  • Prof Mala Maini

    University College London

Project summary

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains one of the most frequent causes of death worldwide, resulting in around 600,000 deaths annually from liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Professor Maini has recently elucidated new pathways by which HBV exploits the tolerogenic hepatic environment to subvert antiviral immunity and promote liver disease. The objective is to build on this work by defining key molecular mechanisms that can be blocked in order to develop novel immunotherapeutic approaches to treat chronic HBV infection. Professor Maini has three interrelated aims: to investigate the capacity of hepatic antigen presenting cells to tolerise T cells; to explore the pathogenic and protective roles of NK cells in the liver; and to develop approaches to promote the survival and function of HBV-specific T cells generated by vaccination or immunotherapy.