A big win at RPH for HIV research

April 1, 2015

Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) Clinical Immunology Consultant Professor Martyn French has been awarded a share in almost $6 million State Government research funding to continue ground-breaking research into human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

With 34 million people world-wide estimated to be living with HIV, Professor French and his team of medical researchers are investigating the possibility of boosting a particular type antibody which triggers a patient’s natural immune response to fight and eradicate HIV.

Professor French said the research, whilst only in its early stages, could assist in the development of a vaccine for HIV sufferers.

“Presently there is no cure for HIV. Patients are able to stay well for 20 to 30 years, but unfortunately once HIV is contracted, continuous drug treatment is the only way to control the virus,” Professor French said.

“Our project is the first investigation into this particular type of antibody, which activates cells in the body to produce molecules to fight the virus.”

The grant from the Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund (MHIRF) will allow his team to expand on four years’ worth of work funded in part by the Medical Research Foundation of Royal Perth Hospital.

“This research has the potential to be life-changing for millions of HIV sufferers around the world,” Professor French said.

Professor French has been working at RPH for 29 years and is also a Professor in Clinical Immunology at the University of Western Australia.