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NIH supports new research strategy for finding a cure for HIV
Date:7/11/2011

An international team led by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and the nonprofit Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Port St. Lucie, Fla., has received a major grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a strategy to eradicate HIV from the body.

The team includes academic, industry and governmental scientists.

"Even though existing anti-HIV drugs have dramatically changed the course of HIV disease for many patients, particularly in Western/developed countries, the drugs are expensive and require daily dosing for life, they are not available to everyone who needs them, they have side effects and they do not fully restore health," said Steven Deeks, MD, a professor of medicine at the UCSF Division of HIV/AIDS at San Francisco General Hospital and one of the three principal investigators.

Moreover, he said, "HIV continues to kill millions of people in developing countries, including regions of Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Our hope is to have a single, or more likely, a combination regimen that truly cures the disease and that we could eventually deliver to people infected with HIV throughout the world."

The award will total over $4 million a year for five years, and consists of seven projects and three core programs. The research project has three broadly defined objectives. One is to define HIV's reservoirthe regions within organs such as the gut, lymph tissue and the brain where HIV remains dormant at low levels even when current combination antiretroviral therapy prevents further replication of the virus in the body. The second is to understand how this reservoir is created and maintained. The third is to test potential treatments.

"In order to develop a cure that would eradicate HIV/AIDS, we need to be able to first determine and understand all of the places and types of cells in the body where the HIV virus can hide or lie dormant, allowing it to persist in patie
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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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