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NeuroAIDS is Target of Federal Grant to Children's Hospital
Date:10/15/2009

n human subjects, with results due to be reported late this year.

In the new grant, one project focuses on cellular mechanisms -- how NK-1R drugs function in human immune cells and brain cells. The project leader is John Wolfe, V.M.D., Ph.D., a Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute scientist and a Penn professor of Pathology and Medical Genetics with special expertise in genetic and cellular mechanisms in the brain.

A second project addresses immune mechanisms, investigating whether clinical depression makes a person's immune cells more vulnerable to HIV infection. The researchers will also study how aprepitant may have a dual effect, both preventing HIV from entering cells and restoring the immune function of natural killer cells. People with depression show lower levels of natural killer cells, and NK1R drugs may act against depressive behavior. Douglas leads this project, working with co-investigators Jordan Orange, M.D., Ph.D., of Children's Hospital, an expert in natural killer cells, and Dwight Evans, M.D., chair of Psychiatry at the Penn School of Medicine. Evans is internationally prominent for studying the connections between depression and immune function.

The third project is a Phase 1B clinical trial, to be led by Pablo Tebas, M.D., clinical research site principal investigator of the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. That unit participates in IMPAACT -- the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group, of which Douglas is the overall principal investigator for IMPAACT's Philadelphia Clinical Trials Unit.

The trial, to be conducted in HIV-infected adult patients already receiving antiretroviral medicines, will test the safety of aprepitant in those patients. A second clinical study will test aprepitant as an antiviral agent in combination with ritonavir, another anti-HIV drug, in patients failing HIV therapy. The interactions
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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