University of Pittsburgh receives grants for HIV cure

A husband-and-wife team of scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Researcher (CVR) recently received two National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants worth $6.3 million to further their research for an HIV/AIDS cure.

Dr. Ivona Pandrea received a $3 million NIH grant to look at the relation between accelerated aging characteristics linked to HIV infection and the non-AIDS co-existing conditions associated with the process. She is investigating the relation between excessive blood clotting strongly associated with death in HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy and accelerated aging.

Her husband, Dr. Cristian Apetrei received a $3.3 million grant to look at the cellular reservoirs for HIV in the body in order to find ways to reactivate the virus from these reservoirs and help the immune system clear reactivated virus. Current HIV medications control HIV by making it difficult for the virus to replicate, but if patients stop taking the drugs the process quickly begins again.

"HIV has proven to be an intriguing challenge for an entire generation of scientists, and Pitt has established a multidisciplinary base of expertise to tackle it from every angle," Ronald Montelaro, professor and co-director of Pitt's CVR, said. "These grants further cement the critical role our researchers will continue to play in developing a cure."

Since beginning their research at Pitt six years ago, Pandrea and Apetrei  have received  $23 million in grant money.

Organizations in this Story

National Institutes of Health University of Pittsburgh

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