- About CURE
Peter Anton, MD
Professor, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Dr. Anton’s overall research interest is to gain insights into the mechanisms underlying modulation of immune responses in the human gastrointestinal tract. While his laboratory’s efforts include studies in inflammatory bowel diseases, the focus has been on the impact of HIV infection on the mucosal immune system. This has implications both for prevention, given the extreme vulnerability of the gastrointestinal lining to HIV transmission, and for further understanding the pathogenesis of ongoing spread with resultant immunodeficiency. His expertise in T cell acquisition from endoscopic biopsies and interest in the mucosal immune system has been applied to the area of HIV pathogenesis. This has entailed optimizing assays for isolating mucosal T cells for phenotypic analysis by flow and quantitating HIV viral burden in the tissue (both HIV RNA and DNA). Dr. Anton is using these assays and other developing indices of mucosal immune response to assess the degree of mucosal inflammation and altered co-receptor expression associated with HIV infection (and associated therapeutic interventions) and the potential use of the mucosa as a route of HIV immunization. Consequently, projects include HIV vaccine trials in humans with and assessment of mucosal immune responses, development of approaches for rectal microbicides and the therapeutic benefit of adjunctive therapy with anti-inflammatory agents. Studies include clinical trials but most efforts focus on in vitro measurements or ex vivo evaluation using developed explant models with mucosal biopsies.