Australian researchers make EBV breakthrough

Scientists at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, have uncovered the mechanism that makes people with an immunodeficiency, X-linked lymphoproliferative disease have a potentially fatal susceptibility to EBV.

People with this rare genetic disorder have a breakdown in signalling between the white B cells, which become infiltrated by EBV, and killer T cells, they found.

Associate Professor Stuart Tangye, group leader of the Garvan Institute’s immunology and inflammation program, said the discovery could also lead to a novel EBV therapy for broad use in people without the genetic condition.

“We’ve been in the situation of dissecting out what the immune system needs to respond appropriately, and sufficiently, to EBV infection,” he said.

“We now know what pathway is involved, and so drugs that promoted or sustained activation of cells through that pathway should promote an anti-EBV response in normal