LA JOLLA, CA, September 19, 2012 The Scripps Research Institute has received a grant totaling approximately $20 million over five years from the National Institutes of Health to research the development of drug resistance in HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The grant will create a new consortium, the HIV Interaction and Viral Evolution (HIVE) Center, to better understand drug resistance and lay the groundwork for developing new anti-HIV treatments.
"We're excited about the project," said Scripps Research Professor Arthur Olson, PhD, who is principal investigator of the new center. "Using HIV, we aim to develop a broad methodology to develop drugs in the context of the evolution of drug resistance. In the process, we'll pursue any new anti-HIV drug, combination, or approach we find that is robust in the face of drug resistance as a potential treatment regimen."
"This center brings together an impressive team of virologists and structural biologists to investigate the structure and function of HIV, including how it responds to the selective pressure imposed by the drugs used in AIDS therapy," said Michael Sakalian, PhD, the official who oversees the grant at the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which made the award with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Their efforts, which focus on elements of the virus that have been difficult to study, will further our understanding of host-pathogen interactions and ways to combat drug resistance."
The current effort grew out of Olson's 15 years of research on HIV protease, a viral enzyme that is a target for several anti-HIV drugs. While the laboratory had been making progress on this avenue of research, Olson realized that all three of the virus's enzymesprotease, integrase, and reverse transcriptasewere interacting as the virus mutated.
"A virus is a complex system, especially HIV, and there are all kinds of interplay between diff
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Scripps Research Institute