SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- July 11, 2011 -- The Gladstone Institutes will receive funds totaling $5.6 million over five years as part of the first-ever major funding initiative focusing on HIV eradication. The funds will help three principal investigators at Gladstone, an independent biomedical-research organization, to explore the molecular basis for HIV latency where the virus that causes AIDS "hides" dormant within cells waiting for an opportunity to reemerge when therapy is withdrawn.
"A critical factor to finding a cure for AIDS is to solve the problem of HIV latency," said Warner Greene, MD, PhD who leads all virology and immunology research at Gladstone. "If we can inhibit latency, then a cure for HIV-infected patients could be within our reach."
AIDS has killed more than 25 million people around the world since first being identified some 30 years ago. In the United States alone, more than one million people live with HIV/AIDS at an annual cost of $34 billion. Patients require lifelong treatment for AIDS because the HIV virus persists in a dormant and drug-insensitive form. Better understanding this latency, and developing new ways to attack it, could finally make it possible to cure HIV-infected patients.
The funding to cure this latency is part of the Martin Delaney Collaboratory a consortium among academia, government and private industry that the National Institutes of Health is funding and that Dr. Greene helped create. The National Institute of Mental Health also provided co-funding.
With these funds, Dr. Greene's laboratory will seek to identify previously unrecognized products in the cell that help maintain HIV latency ultimately working to develop inhibitors against these cellular proteins. Dr. Greene's laboratory also will analyze the action and targets of various regulatory molecules known as microRNAs that are present in latently infected CD4 T cells. Eric Verdin, MD, will study the potential role of th
|Contact: Mara Brazer|