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

Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute

Building 41, Room D804
Bethesda, MD 20892-5065
301-496-2386

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

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.

Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Virology
Selected Recent Publications
  1. Co-dependence of HTLV-1 p12 and p8 functions in virus persistence.
    Pise-Masison C, Amarante MF, Enose-Akahata Y, Buchmann RC, Fenizia C, Washington Parks R, Edwards D, Fiocchi M, Alcantara LC, Bialuk I, Graham J, Walser J, McKinnon K, Galvao-Castro B, Gessain A, Venzon D, Jacobson S, Franchini G.
    PLoS Pathog. in press, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Gupta S, Pegu P, Venzon DJ, Gach JS, Ma Z, Landucci G, Miller CJ, Franchini G, Forthal DN.
    J Infect Dis. [Epub ahead of print], 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Moniuszko M, Liyanage NP, Doster MN, Parks RW, Grubczak K, Lipinska D, McKinnon K, Brown C, Hirsch V, Vaccari M, Gordon S, Pegu P, Fenizia C, Flisiak R, Grzeszczuk A, Dabrowska M, Robert-Guroff M, Silvestri G, Stevenson M, McCune J, Franchini G.
    AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. [Epub ahead of print], 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Vargas-Inchaustegui DA, Tuero I, Mohanram V, Musich T, Pegu P, Valentin A, Sui Y, Rosati M, Bear J, Venzon DJ, Kulkarni V, Alicea C, Pilkington GR, Liyanage NP, Demberg T, Gordon SN, Wang Y, Hogg AE, Frey B, Patterson LJ, DiPasquale J, Montefiori DC, Sardesai NY, Reed SG, Berzofsky JA, Franchini G, Felber BK, Pavlakis GN, Robert-Guroff M.
    Clin Immunol. 153: 308-22, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Liyanage NP, Gordon SN, Doster MN, Pegu P, Vaccari M, Shukur N, Schifanella L, Pise-Masison CA, Lipinska D, Grubczak K, Moniuszko M, Franchini G.
    Virology. 450-451: 359-68, 2014. [ 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
Maria Amarante Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Nicolo Binello M.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Massimiliano Bissa Special Volunteer
Dallas Brown Predoctoral Fellow
Melvin Nelson Doster II Research Biologist
Dustin Edwards Ph.D. Special Volunteer
Veronica Galli Ph.D. Predoctoral Fellow
Shari Noelle Gordon Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Giacomo Gorini Ph.D. Special Volunteer
Corrado Gurgo Ph.D. Guest Researcher
Namal Prasanna Malimbada Liyanage Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Luca Schifanella M.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Monica Vaccari Ph.D. Staff Scientist
Robyn Washington-Parks Research Biologist

Summary

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

Research

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.

Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Virology

Publications

Selected Recent Publications
  1. Co-dependence of HTLV-1 p12 and p8 functions in virus persistence.
    Pise-Masison C, Amarante MF, Enose-Akahata Y, Buchmann RC, Fenizia C, Washington Parks R, Edwards D, Fiocchi M, Alcantara LC, Bialuk I, Graham J, Walser J, McKinnon K, Galvao-Castro B, Gessain A, Venzon D, Jacobson S, Franchini G.
    PLoS Pathog. in press, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Gupta S, Pegu P, Venzon DJ, Gach JS, Ma Z, Landucci G, Miller CJ, Franchini G, Forthal DN.
    J Infect Dis. [Epub ahead of print], 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Moniuszko M, Liyanage NP, Doster MN, Parks RW, Grubczak K, Lipinska D, McKinnon K, Brown C, Hirsch V, Vaccari M, Gordon S, Pegu P, Fenizia C, Flisiak R, Grzeszczuk A, Dabrowska M, Robert-Guroff M, Silvestri G, Stevenson M, McCune J, Franchini G.
    AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. [Epub ahead of print], 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Vargas-Inchaustegui DA, Tuero I, Mohanram V, Musich T, Pegu P, Valentin A, Sui Y, Rosati M, Bear J, Venzon DJ, Kulkarni V, Alicea C, Pilkington GR, Liyanage NP, Demberg T, Gordon SN, Wang Y, Hogg AE, Frey B, Patterson LJ, DiPasquale J, Montefiori DC, Sardesai NY, Reed SG, Berzofsky JA, Franchini G, Felber BK, Pavlakis GN, Robert-Guroff M.
    Clin Immunol. 153: 308-22, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Liyanage NP, Gordon SN, Doster MN, Pegu P, Vaccari M, Shukur N, Schifanella L, Pise-Masison CA, Lipinska D, Grubczak K, Moniuszko M, Franchini G.
    Virology. 450-451: 359-68, 2014. [ Journal Article ]

Biography

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.

Team

Name Position
Maria Amarante Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Nicolo Binello M.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Massimiliano Bissa Special Volunteer
Dallas Brown Predoctoral Fellow
Melvin Nelson Doster II Research Biologist
Dustin Edwards Ph.D. Special Volunteer
Veronica Galli Ph.D. Predoctoral Fellow
Shari Noelle Gordon Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Giacomo Gorini Ph.D. Special Volunteer
Corrado Gurgo Ph.D. Guest Researcher
Namal Prasanna Malimbada Liyanage Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Luca Schifanella M.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Monica Vaccari Ph.D. Staff Scientist
Robyn Washington-Parks Research Biologist