March 2003: Grants Include Research on Viral Reservoirs
In March 2003, amfAR announced 13 grants and fellowship awards totaling more than $1.2 million for basic research to combat HIV/AIDS. Nearly $300,000 was awarded for research on ways to eliminate viral reservoirs and viral latency. Other projects will explore a wide variety of biomedical research on HIV/AIDS, including AIDS vaccines, new drugs, and the immune system’s response to HIV.
Four researchers received two-year amfAR fellowships totaling nearly $400,000, which will enable them to conduct original studies under the guidance of experienced senior scientists. These directed research projects will focus on HIV reservoirs and viral latency, microbicides, disrupted immune function, and new anti-HIV drugs.
The 13 funded projects were selected from among nearly 140 letters of intent submitted in response to amfAR's September 2002 request for proposals (RFP), which called in particular for research on viral reservoirs.
Long-lasting viral reservoirs represent a major obstacle to eradicating HIV from the body and possibly curing HIV infection. New evidence reveals that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is unlikely to eradicate HIV from the body because the virus can remain dormant in immune cells or hidden in tissue reservoirs such as the brain and lymph nodes. As Dr. Robert Siliciano of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine noted at the XIV International AIDS Conference in July 2002, viral reservoirs guarantee “lifetime persistence of [HIV] and makes the disease intrinsically incurable with antiretroviral therapy alone.”
amfAR’s Basic Research Program
The mission of amfAR’s Basic Research Program is to identify, fund, and advance innovative, creative, and timely research and research education projects in the basic science of HIV/AIDS. This goal is predicated on the belief that an understanding of the biology of HIV is the best means by which effective treatments and primary prevention measures, and an eventual cure, will be achieved.
Both amfAR grantees and fellows are selected through a rigorous process of peer review conducted by members of amfAR’s Scientific Advisory committee, a group of highly qualified professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to evaluate proposals on the basic of scientific merit, relevance, and promise.
For more information about amfAR's grant programs or to request inclusion on the mailing list for future RFPs, please contact:
American Foundation for AIDS Research
120 Wall Street, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10005-3902
Fax: (212) 806-1601