Margarida Gama-Carvalho, Principal Researcher of the RNA Systems Biology Lab of BioISI, an R&D Unit from Ciências ULisboa, and her research team were one of the winners of the 9th Edition of Program Gilead GENESE, an initiative by Gilead Sciences that wants to distinguish and support the translational processes of innovative clinical and therapeutic research projects, focused in the areas of oncology and virology. The award ceremony took place on October 17, at Grupo IMPRESA headquarters, bringing together the medical and biotech community.
The winning project, distinguished in the virology category, is called miThic-eSwitch and aims to develop a solution for the cure of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). In the past years, there was a huge progress in the treatment of this disease caused by the HIV virus, but effective cure remains challenging due to the persistence of infected cells that can survive silently for decades.
The BioISI team has been working on a gene therapy system able to identify and destroy cells harboring latent virus. With miThic-eSwitch, they aim to develop a molecular switch capable of restricting the activation of this system to the target cell type, reducing unwanted effects, with potential for broad application to other disease contexts that may benefit from similarly based therapies.
This Award is not only a great recognition of the impactful work that is being developed by Margarida Gama-Carvalho’s team, but also a boost to the R&D activities that are still needed to bring the project closer to the market, and to which the monetary prize received will also be of much added-value.