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NIH grant supports UCSF research exploring early HIV infection
Date:10/8/2007

A team led by researchers at the UCSF Positive Health Program has been named to receive $15 million over five years to expand understanding of the complex interactions between HIV and the immune systems of newly infected patients following HIV transmission.

The grant is being awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an arm of the National Institutes of Health.

The program will provide an important platform for innovative research into HIV transmission and early infection in patients and aims to provide new clues for developing a vaccine and improving therapeutic outcomes, said the grants primary investigator, Frederick Hecht, MD, professor of medicine at the UCSF Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center.

The research will be based on two clinical cohorts of recently infected patients: the UCSF Options Project in Northern California and the Projeto AMPLIAR cohort in Southern Brazil. The Brazil project was developed through the work of Ricardo de Souza, MD, from the Universidade de Caxias do Sul, Brazil in Brazil, and Christopher Pilcher, MD, from UCSFs Positive Health Program.

The inclusion of the Brazil cohort allows us to look at two HIV subtypes simultaneously. Subtype C predominates in Sub-Saharan Africa and subtype B predominates in North America, though both are common in Southern Brazil. This provides us with a natural research study for understanding competing HIV subtypes, said Hecht.

The overall grant aims to understand the viral and host factors that favor or block HIV transmission on a biological level and the factors that favor good control of early HIV infection by newly infected patients. The program is composed of four projects.

One project, led by Hecht, will focus on the transmission and persistence of two types of HIV resistance mutations. Some are caused by infection with HIV varia
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Contact: Jeff Sheehy
jsheehy@ari.ucsf.edu
415-597-8165
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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