amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

amfAR Welcomes NIH-Funded HIV/AIDS Cure Initiative

National Institutes of Health announces first round of grants to support collaborative HIV/AIDS cure research


For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Cub Barrett, Program Communications Manager
(212) 806-1602

NEW YORK, July 11, 2011—amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Monday applauded the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for funding its first large-scale round of grants to support collaborative research toward a cure for HIV/AIDS.

The grants, given to three research teams and totaling more than $14 million a year for up to five years, are part of the Martin Delaney Collaboratory, designed to foster public-private partnerships to accelerate progress toward an HIV cure. Delaney, who died of liver cancer in 2009, was an influential AIDS activist.

The three teams are:

  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) in Seattle, working with Sangamo Biosciences Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Richmond, CA— led by co-principal investigators Keith R. Jerome, M.D., Ph.D., and Hans-Peter Kiem, M.D., of FHCRC; first-year funding is $4.1 million
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), working with Merck Research Laboratories, headquartered in Whitehouse Station, NJ— led by principal investigator David Margolis, M.D., of UNC; first-year funding is $6.3 million
  • University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI) in Port St. Lucie, FL, also working with Merck Research Laboratories—led by co-principal investigators Steven Deeks, M.D., and Mike McCune, M.D., Ph.D., of UCSF, and Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, Ph.D., of VGTI; first-year funding is $4.2 million

“We’re proud that several current and former amfAR grantees, including Drs. Keith Jerome, David Margolis, Steven Deeks, Mike McCune, and Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, are leading this landmark round of collaborative cure-focused studies funded by the NIH,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “We hope that the work these researchers continue to do will contribute vital new information to our collective efforts to eradicate HIV infection.”

The past several years have witnessed increasing emphasis on HIV/AIDS cure research, as well as a growing sense that a cure is possible. In 2010 amfAR launched its own cure consortium, which included grants to Drs. Deeks and McCune, and announced funding for a second round of cure consortium grants last month. In January, the International AIDS Society (IAS) announced plans to create its own international working group toward a cure, co-chaired by Dr. Deeks.

“There is more hope than ever that we’re on the right path to a cure for HIV/AIDS,” Frost said. “We’re thrilled that amfAR, as well as the NIH and the IAS, is at the forefront of accelerating these research efforts by encouraging researchers and scientists to work in collaborative ways that are both innovative and exciting.”

About amfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $325 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.