FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

NIH seeks proposals for HIV cure research

The National Institutes of Health announced a research funding opportunity on Wednesday meant to spur innovative academic-private sector research collaborations to create novel approaches to eliminate HIV.

The NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute anticipate they will fund three to six grants for a total of approximately $11.2 million per year for five years through this new request for applications. The RFA, entitled "Beyond HAART: Innovative Approaches to Cure HIV-1," will support investigators of three to four interrelated research projects combining basic science, preclinical research and translational research. HAART is an acronym for highly active antiretroviral therapy.

The RFA's areas of interest include but are not limited to test-of-concept studies carried out in animals or humans, non-traditional antiviral strategies, such as gene-editing enzymes, novel gene therapy approaches, such as research on new viral and host targets, and cell-based approaches, including approaches based on hematopoietic stem cells.

In December, the NIH announced it would invest an additional $100 million over a three-year period toward the goal of an HIV cure. The research funding includes a focus on sustained remission, which is the maintenance of undetectable virus levels in the absence of antiretroviral therapy, in addition to the effort to completely eliminate HIV from the body.

The NIH is the national medical research agency in the U.S. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research to investigate the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases.

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