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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 4, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 49
amfAR announces new Institute for HIV Cure Research
Section One
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amfAR announces new Institute for HIV Cure Research

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, announced on November 30 that it is funding a new Institute for HIV Cure Research to be based in San Francisco.

The foundation will give a five-year $20 million grant to the new research group to study ways to cure HIV.

The research institute will 'support teams of scientists working across the research continuum,' through collaborations with the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology (GIVI) and Blood Systems Research Institute, as well as Oregon Health & Science University; the University of California, Berkeley; Gilead Sciences; and the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle.

'We intend to quicken the pace of cure research by supporting a collaborative community of leading HIV researchers in one cohesive enterprise,' amfAR Chief Executive Officer Kevin Robert Frost said in a statement.

'The institute will allow them to conduct the science, share ideas, and test and evaluate new technologies and potential therapies in a state-of-the-art environment. And I can think of no better base for such an enterprise than the San Francisco Bay Area, the crucible of technological innovation in America.'

'Furthermore, establishing an institute dedicated to finding a cure for HIV in a city that was once considered ground zero of the AIDS epidemic brings full circle the outstanding work that UCSF's researchers have been doing over the past 30 years,' Frost added.

'The San Francisco area has a higher concentration of scientific thought leaders in HIV than anywhere else in the world,' said amfAR Vice President and Director of Research Dr. Rowena Johnston. 'The Bay Area has consistently led the way in developing and implementing scientific advances in HIV prevention and treatment, and the potential for this team of researchers to develop a cure is unparalleled.'

The new institute will be headquartered in UCSF's Global Health and Clinical Sciences Building at Mission Bay, and will house teams of researchers working across institutions and disciplines. There is general consensus among the scientific community that the principal barrier to a cure is the reservoirs, or pockets, of virus that remain in a patient even after antiretroviral therapy has reduced the viral load to 'undetectable' levels of HIV. amfAR intends for the new research group to address four key challenges to creating an effective cure for HIV:

o pinpointing the precise locations of the latent reservoirs of virus;

o determining how they are formed and persist;

o quantifying the amount of virus in them;

o and finally, eradicating the reservoirs from the body.

'For those of us who watched helplessly as thousands died, the opportunity to try to develop an HIV cure is truly amazing,' said Paul Volberding, MD, a UCSF professor of medicine who will direct the new amfAR Institute. 'We are proud to have been chosen by amfAR as the only amfAR HIV Cure Institute in the nation. We're ready to end this epidemic.'

'This exciting new initiative will bring together the scientific, technological, and team-building expertise of amfAR and its Institute partners,' Johnston added. 'We are confident that this new combination approach will enable us to rapidly advance the science around a cure for HIV.'

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Pride Foundation has invested over $7.5 million to support LGBTQ people in 2015

Announces 66 Northwest organizations receiving community grants

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Northwest Hammerskins planning Seattle White Power march on Capitol Hill, Sunday, Dec. 6
Rose City Antifa and allies call for peaceful counter protest

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43rd District Rep. Brady Walkinshaw to run for Congress
Challenges Jim McDermott

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12th Annual Stronger Together World AIDS Day Breakfast
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Seattle City Councilmember-elect M. Lorena González was sworn into office on November 24, 2015 at City Hall. Following is the speech she gave following the formal administration of the Oath of Office.
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Pike QFC shooting report released, no arrests made
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Elton John AIDS Foundation commemorates World AIDS Day
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Feds allow 27 colleges to discriminate against LGBT students and staff
Plans underway to expel Trans students

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U.S. marine guilty in murder of Philippines Trans woman
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Why elections matter:
New Louisiana governor will protect LGBT employees from discrimination

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The man behind the plan: Cincinnati's first openly Gay councilmember Chris Seelbach sees bright future for his city
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amfAR announces new Institute for HIV Cure Research
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Cyprus passes civil partnerships
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Dominican Cardinal insults U.S. Ambassador:
'Let him focus on housework since he's the wife to a man'

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Stop asking me about HIV and condoms, Pope says
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