Treatments for autoimmune diseases such as lupus are often associated with multiple side-effects and a poor patient response. A/Prof Michael Gantier is harnessing the potential of RNA therapeutics, like those used in mRNA vaccines, to revolutionise autoimmune disease treatments, blocking disease at its source.

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Dr Michael Gantier from the Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity Research Group at Hudson Institute

Areas of interest

COVID-19 Inflammation and cancer Influenza Lupus

Research group

Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity

Biography

A/Prof Michael Gantier is a molecular and cell biologist with expertise in the field of innate immunity – the system our bodies use to detect and fight infections.

An expert in nucleic acids biology, with a strong focus on their therapeutic implications in the modulation of immunity, A/Prof Gantier’s research focus is on the definition of how pathogenic nucleic acids (such as DNA or RNA) are recognised by a series of selective sensors of the immune system.

While these sensors are normally protective, they can also misfire and initiate a vicious circle of inflammation leading to autoimmunity.

By characterising how these sensors are kept in check at the molecular level, A/Prof Gantier’s research opens novel therapeutic avenues to dampen the inflammation causing autoimmunity.

A/Prof Gantier has published and patented works (see Publications below) that represent the largest characterisation of how synthetic nucleic acids can be used to modulate the activity of immune nucleic acids sensors.

His studies of how nucleic sensing operates at a cellular level has also led his team to discover the first clinic-ready TBK1 inhibitor, idronoxil  (Nature Communications 2023).

A/Prof Gantier’s focus is twofold

  1. Understanding how innate immune sensors misfire, with the goal of preventing autoimmunity.
  2. Developing a new class of anti-inflammatory molecules, known as RNA therapeutics, to blunt aberrant inflammation at its source in a wide range of diseases.

A/Prof Michael Gantier’s research has led to the discovery of a new therapeutic approach to target skin lupus and psoriasis, currently clinically developed by ASX-listed Noxopharm Ltd and its subsidiary, Pharmorage Pty Ltd. These findings also have the capacity to improve emerging technologies such as mRNA vaccines.

RNA – changing the face of modern medicine

Education

Awards and fellowships

Affiliations

Publication highlights