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Fresh Air for HIV Cure Research

Alain Lafeuillade
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Posted on Saturday, 23 July 2011
in Clinical Aspects

Fresh money recently poured in HIV Cure Research.


$70 million will be distributed among three collaborating entities over the coming 5 years for advancement in the research for a cure for HIV/AIDS, and that is a breath of fresh air for HIV cure research. This much needed capital is the largest investment ever made intended to directly affect lives of people infected with this disease. Researchers have long held the view that finding a cure was hopeless, but with this new infusion there may yet be a cure found to rid this insidious virus from the body or reduce its levels enough for those infected will no longer need anti-HIV drugs.


Martin Delaney Collaboratory is the recipient of the grant and will distribute moneys to the three teams; University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, University of California, San Francisco (UNSF), and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) will work in conjunction with the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI) located in Port ST. Lucie, Florida. These entities use different approaches in their research, but each one complements the other. Steven Deeks a principal investigator of this project hopes that this combination therapy will find a cure as these three groups merge their work and create a breath of fresh air for HIV cure research.


UNC has received the largest amount of funding, but is also the largest group involved in the collaboration of researchers using this breath of fresh air for HIV cure research. It will receive $6.3 million each year for the 15 separate projects it coordinates. David Margolis of UNC leads 19 collaborators from a total of 9 universities throughout the country and Merck Research Laboratories, and expresses the excitement within the organization about the opportunity to take this important and complicated step. Each of the other two in the group will be receiving just over $4 million each year. Both UCSF and VGTI will use an immune-based treatment as well as small molecules in their attempts to shrink the reservoirs of infected cells.


The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is the largest provider of the funding, but the National Institute of Mental Health also made a small contribution for a combined $42.5 million. Due to the great interest in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, the Director of NIAID, Anthony Fauci said they took great care to search for the funding opportunity within their budget and came up with a total of $70 million for the three groups. He points out that when it was all said and done, they were able to offer a significant amount of cash. This is only part of the reason a breath of fresh air for HIV cure research has been possible.


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