amfAR Announces Strategy Aimed at Curing HIV

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via Press Release

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, announced that it has created a $100 million investment strategy in support of its Countdown to a Cure for AIDS initiative, launched last year with the aim of developing the scientific basis of a cure by 2020. The establishment of the amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research within a major academic research institution with a grant of $20 million will be the centerpiece of the investment strategy.

“This represents the greatest expansion of amfAR’s grant making in the 30-year history of the Foundation,” said Kevin Robert Frost, amfAR’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’re very excited to be launching this strategy and establishing an institute dedicated exclusively to the pursuit of a cure for HIV. Concentrating the minds and the efforts of leading AIDS cure researchers under one roof will facilitate the rapid sharing of knowledge and ideas and create the kind of synergy needed to accelerate the search for a cure.”

amfAR has identified four key challenges that must be addressed and overcome in order to realize a cure. Each of the four relates to the so-called reservoirs of persistent virus that present the most formidable obstacle to a cure. Scientists must pinpoint the precise locations of these reservoirs, determine how they are formed and persist, quantify the amount of virus in them, and, finally, eradicate the reservoirs from the body.

The Institute is expected to house a team of researchers with a track record of collaboration who will work on all four of the key challenges across the research continuum—from basic science to clinical studies. The academic institution that will house the Institute will be selected in the fall of 2015.

The research supported by amfAR’s Countdown to a Cure initiative is guided by a Cure Council, a group of eminent scientists that includes Nobel Prize winners Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, co-discoverer of HIV, and Dr. David Baltimore of the California Institute of Technology.  They are joined on the Council by Dr. Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina, Dr. Beatrice Hahn of the University of Pennsylvania, Richard Jefferys of Treatment Action Group, and Dr. Carl June of the University of Pennsylvania.

“Our investment strategy is designed to ensure that we can support every scientific effort across the spectrum of biomedical research that has the potential to overcome one or more of the key scientific barriers to a cure for HIV,” said amfAR Vice President and Director of Research Dr. Rowena Johnston.  “One of the hallmarks of amfAR’s research program is our ability to turn on a dime and rapidly funnel resources to studies that show promise and potential. Our aim is to combine that flexibility and rapid response with sufficient resources to develop the scientific basis for a cure by 2020.”

For additional information about amfAR’s “Countdown To  A Cure” research initiative, please visit:  http://www.curecountdown.org/ 

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