CHUM Research Centre
Laboratory of Liver Immunology, CRCHUM
Department of medicine, Université de Montréal
Department of microbiology and immunology, Université de Montréal
514 890-8000, ext. 35235
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Canadian Network on Hepatitis C (CanHepC)
Viral hepatitis, hepatitis C, liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis, liver cancer, immuno-virology, T and B cells, flow cytometry, microscopy, transcriptomics.
Chronic liver disease and advanced liver fibrosis, known as cirrhosis, has nearly doubled in Canada over the past two decades. Liver fibrosis is multifactorial and occurs in response to liver injury due to toxins, alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis (B and C) infection and non- alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Cirrhosis is the main risk for developing liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCC is on the rise in North America. Direct acting antivirals (DAAs) that completely cure hepatitis C virus (HCV) are expected to decrease HCV-related fibrosis. However, it is not clear if this will reverse fibrosis and impact the incidence of HCC especially in individuals with cirrhosis. Furthermore, the rising rates of obesity are expected to cause an increase in NAFLD-related liver disease and HCC.
Since joining the CRCHUM in 2005, our group has established a translational research program in liver immunology focused on immunity against hepatitis C virus (HCV). In collaboration with clinicians at the CRCHUM, we have built a unique cohort of patients at different stages of HCV infection and a biobank that has allowed us to address key questions in HCV immuno-pathology. Recognizing the increased incidence of advanced liver disease and liver cancer with various aetiologies, our program has broadened to study immunological mechanisms of liver fibrosis and HCC. Our research program has two complementary research themes:
- To identify correlates of protective immunity against HCV in high-risk people who inject drugs (PWID) and define parameters/signatures to be used as benchmark to measure efficacy of new HCV vaccines. This theme uses high-resolution immunological and transcriptomic approaches to define these protective signatures and interactions between the T cell and B cell arms of the immune response.
- To understand immunological mechanism of liver disease progression and onset of liver cancer, with a focus on the immunological landscape and cytokines that may favor cancer development and/or dampen the immune response against cancer cells and how such factors influence the response to novel anti-cancer immunotherapies.