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Emory receives NIH funding for HIV Clinical Trials Unit, including four HIV/AIDS clinical research sites

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Catherine Morrow

December 1st is World AIDS Day. Begun in 1988 as an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic cand mourning those who have died of the disease, it is one eleven official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization.

The Emory HIV Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) will include two Clinical Research Sites in Atlanta that have been part of the CTU for many years: The Ponce de Leon Center and the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center, and will add two new international sites in Dasmariñas City, Philippines, and Mexico City, Mexico.

The Emory HIV Clinical Trials Unit has been selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as one of 35 clinical trials units (CTUs) responsible for implementing the scientific agenda of the NIH HIV/AIDS clinical research networks. The CTUs are funded by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The seven-year award to Emory, with expected funding of more than $12.5 million, includes two clinical research sites in Atlanta affiliated with Emory, and one each in the Philippines and Mexico.

The Emory HIV CTU will conduct clinical trials within three networks funded by the NIH:

  • The AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG),
  • HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and
  • HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN).

Emory's HIV CTU first received NIH funding in 2007, but the renewal and the inclusion of the two new clinical research sites, one in Mexico and one in the Philippines, will significantly boost its clinical trials work in HIV/AIDS.

The research activities of the NIH HIV clinical trials networks also include the treatment and prevention of other infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and hepatitis, which are the most significant co-infections for people living with, or at risk for, HIV.

The Emory HIV CTU is directed by two principal investigators,  Dr. Jeffrey Lennox, professor of medicine in infectious diseases and associate dean for clinical research at Emory University School of Medicine; and Dr. Carlos del Rio, professor of medicine in infectious diseases and executive associate dean for Emory School of Medicine at Grady Health System and co-Director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research.

"We are very excited about the important clinical trials work this grant will continue to allow us to pursue," says Lennox.

"Our existing Emory CTU has been very successful in conducting HIV clinical trials, but our partnerships in Mexico and the Philippines expand our reach to two key international sites and will allow us to move forward with new research that could make a significant impact on this still challenging disease," says del Rio.

Clinical sites in Atlanta include the Ponce de Leon Center, the HIV/AIDS outpatient center in midtown that houses the outpatient infectious disease clinics of Grady Health System and is one of the largest and most comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment facilities in the country, and the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center, located in Decatur, Ga.

The Emory CTU International sites are located in Mexico City, Mexico, and Dasmariñas City, Cavite, Philippines. The Mexico City site is located at the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, one of the premiere medial research institutions in Mexico, and is directed by Dr. Juan Sierra-Madero.  The Philippines site is located at the De La Salle Medical and Heath Sciences Institute- Angelo King Medical Research Center (DLSMHSI-AKMRC) and is directed by Dr. Melchor V.G. Frias.

More information about the NIH HIV Clinical Trials Networks here.

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