Genoveffa Franchini, M.D.

Genoveffa  Franchini, M.D.
Senior Investigator
Head, Animal Models and Retroviral Vaccines Section

HTLV-1 causes cancer and neuropathology, whereas HIV causes AIDS. We uncovered the mechanisms used by HTLV-1 to inhibit innate and adaptive host responses and that HTLV-1 replication in vivo depends on infection of monocytes that necessitate cleavage of the viral p12 precursor protein, thus providing a novel viral therapeutic target. We engineered vaccines, together with the private sector, to prevent HTLV-1 and HIV infection. One of the HIV vaccines, the ALVAC-HIV/gp120, has been the first to demonstrate limited, but significant protection against HIV acquisition in humans. Our studies in macaques mirror the human results providing the opportunity to identify the immunological effector(s) of protection and improve vaccine efficacy against HIV.

Areas of Expertise

1) molecular retrovirology, 2) vaccinology, 3) immunology, 4) retroviral pathogenesis

Contact Info

Genoveffa Franchini, M.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 41, Room D804
Bethesda, MD 20892-5065
Ph: 240-760-6605
franchig@mail.nih.gov

Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) causes cancer and neuropathology whereas human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)causes AIDS. We uncovered the mechanisms used by HTLV-1 to inhibit innate and adaptive host responses and that HTLV-1 replication in vivo depends on infection of monocytes that necessitate cleavage of the viral p12 precursor protein, thus providing a novel viral therapeutic target. We engineered vaccines, together with the private sector to prevent HTLV-1 and HIV infection. One of the HIV vaccines, the ALVAC-HIV/gp120, has been the first to demonstrate limited, but significant protection against HIV acquisition in humans. Our studies in macaques mirror the human results providing the opportunity to identify the immunological effector(s) of protection and improve vaccine efficacy against HIV.

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Virology
View Dr. Franchini's PubMed Summary.

Selected Recent Publications

  1. Gorini G, Fourati S, Vaccari M, Rahman MA, Gordon SN, Brown DR, Law L, Chang J, Green R, Barrenäs F, Liyanage NPM, Doster MN, Schifanella L, Bissa M, Silva de Castro I, Washington-Parks R, Galli V, Fuller DH, Santra S, Agy M, Pal R, Palermo RE, Tomaras GD, Shen X, LaBranche CC, Montefiori DC, Venzon DJ, Trinh HV, Rao M, Gale M Jr, Sekaly RP, Franchini G
    PLoS Pathog. 16(3): e1008377, 2020. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Schifanella L, Barnett SW, Bissa M, Galli V, Doster MN, Vaccari M, Tomaras GD, Shen X, Phogat S, Pal R, Montefiori DC, LaBranche CC, Rao M, Trinh HV, Washington-Parks R, Liyanage NPM, Brown DR, Liang F, Loré K, Venzon DJ, Magnanelli W, Metrinko M, Kramer J, Breed M, Alter G, Ruprecht RM, Franchini G
    PLoS Pathog. 15(12): e1008121, 2019. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Sui Y, Lewis GK, Wang Y, Berckmueller K, Frey B, Dzutsev A, Vargas-Inchaustegui D, Mohanram V, Musich T, Shen X, DeVico A, Fouts T, Venzon D, Kirk J, Waters RC, Talton J, Klinman D, Clements J, Tomaras GD, Franchini G, Robert-Guroff M, Trinchieri G, Gallo RC, Berzofsky JA
    J Clin Invest.. 129(3): 1314-28, 2019. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Vaccari M, Fourati S, Gordon SN, Brown DR, Bissa M, Schifanella L, Silva de Castro I, Doster MN, Galli V, Omsland M, Fujikawa D, Gorini G, Liyanage NPM, Trinh HV, McKinnon KM, Foulds KE, Keele BF, Roederer M, Koup RA, Shen X, Tomaras GD, Wong MP, Munoz KJ, Gach JS, Forthal DN, Montefiori DC, Venzon DJ, Felber BK, Rosati M, Pavlakis GN, Rao M, Sekaly RP, Franchini G
    Nat Med. 24(6): 847-56, 2018. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Auclair S, Liu F, Niu Q, Hou W, Churchyard G, Morgan C, Frahm N, Nitayaphan S, Pitisuthithum P, Rerks-Ngarm S, Kimata JT, Soong L, Franchini G, Robb M, Kim J, Michael N, Hu H
    PLoS Pathog. 14(2): e1006888, 2018. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Genoveffa Franchini is a hematologist and renowned retrovirologist who has pioneered research on oncogenes and human retroviruses (HTLVs and HIVs). She has made numerous achievements in virology and translational approaches to prevent human diseases caused by retroviruses. Her work has furthered the understanding of HIV and HTLV-1 pathogenesis, leading to the identification and characterization of new viral genes for HIV and HTLV-1 and their functions. Her accomplishments in HIV vaccine development include the pre-clinical that led to the first vaccine trial in 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, that has demonstrated significant, though limited, protection against HIV acquisition. Her basic work in immunological mechanisms of protection furthered the understanding of the efficacy of the currently available smallpox vaccine in primates. She also has pioneered strategies to down-modulate regulators of immune response in HIV-1-infected individuals, using the macaque model of SIV infection.

Name Position
Massimiliano Bissa Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Melvin Nelson Doster B.S. Research Biologist
Veronica Galli Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Corrado Gurgo Ph.D. Guest Researcher
Ramona Moles Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Maria Omsland Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Mohammad Arif Rahman Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Sarkis Sarkis Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Luca Schifanella M.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Isabela Silva De Castro Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
James Stamos B.S. Predoctoral Fellow (Graduate Student)
Monica Vaccari Ph.D. Staff Scientist
Robyn Washington-Parks B.S. Research Biologist