Impact Report 2023

amfAR grantee Dr. Jonah Sacha, Oregon Health & Science University, pictured far right with (L-R) Marc Franke (Düsseldorf patient), Adam Castillejo (London patient), and Paul Edmonds (City of Hope patient)

amfAR grantee Dr. Jonah Sacha, Oregon Health & Science University, pictured far right with (L-R) Marc Franke (Düsseldorf patient), Adam Castillejo (London patient), and Paul Edmonds (City of Hope patient)

Researchers working under the purview of amfAR’s ICISTEM research consortium, along with colleagues in Germany, confirmed that a 53-year-old man in Germany named Marc Franke (pictured above left), formerly known only as the Düsseldorf patient, had been cured of HIV via a stem cell transplant.

It was reported that a man in his early fifties also may have been cured of HIV, once again through a stem cell transplant. If confirmed, the “Geneva patient” would be the sixth person known to have been cured to date. In a potentially important breakthrough, this case used donor cells without the genetic mutation rendering them resistant to HIV that had seemed to be central to the previous cases. Co-principal investigator Dr. Asier Sáez-Cirión, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris and a member of amfAR’s ICISTEM consortium, presented the findings at the 2023 International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Science.

amfAR awarded new grants to research teams in the U.S. and Europe pursuing a cure for HIV. While the majority are focusing on gene therapy approaches to curing HIV, others seek to harness—and boost—the potential of potent antibodies capable of neutralizing a broad range of HIV strains, and to determine whether long-term antiretroviral therapy may be able to clear HIV infection in some people.

Along with collaborator Dr. Katalin Karikó, veteran HIV vaccine researcher and amfAR grantee Dr. Drew Weissman of the University of Pennsylvania was awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on mRNA, which proved instrumental in the development of effective vaccines for Covid-19.Currently, as a principal investigator on a multi-year amfAR funded research project aimed at developing and testing a complex gene therapy approach to curing HIV, Dr. Weissman is using mRNA technology to target the HIV reservoir, the main barrier to a cure.

Researchers in the Netherlands shared study results detailing a new case of post-treatment control of HIV. Analyses by investigators including amfAR grantee Dr. Jori Symons of University Medical Center Utrecht, suggest that this may have been caused by strong CD8 immune responses and a virus that seems slow to replicate, possibly due to a mutation.

The results of a clinical trial conducted by researchers at the amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research were announced in February 2023. The trial established proof of concept that combination immunotherapy may induce post-treatment control of HIV by altering facets of the virus or the immune response to it.

Through a suite of free interactive databases, amfAR is an essential and trusted source of comprehensive, up-to date information on global HIV programming/ funding, key populations, the opioid epidemic, COVID-19, and the U.S. Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. These critical resources inform policymakers, public health officials, advocates, researchers, and other stakeholders about key aspects of the evolving U.S. and global HIV epidemics.

Among numerous advocacy initiatives, amfAR led public condemnation of the state of Tennessee’s abrupt decision to reject federal funding for HIV services. amfAR educated members of Congress on the potential consequences of the decision, showing how it could lead to more than $250M in additional treatment costs per year. amfAR staff met with stakeholders from Tennessee and the CDC, and were interviewed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, PBS, NPR, and NBC News.

For more than two decades, amfAR’s TREAT Asia program has brought researchers, healthcare professionals, and advocates together to improve and expand access to treatment for HIV and related conditions across the Asian continent. TREAT Asia and its network partners conduct a wide range of important studies, including those focused on long-term treatment outcomes of adolescents and young adults living with HIV, pregnancy outcomes among women living with HIV, lung cancer, tuberculosis, mental health, viral hepatitis, SARS-CoV-2, and other viral pathogens.



Widespread coverage of amfAR in the media—through expert commentary, research reports, editorials, and coverage of benefit events—ensures that HIV/AIDS, and the urgent need to end the global epidemic, remains in the public eye.