AmFAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, has announced grants of $2 million each to three research teams pursuing a range of strategies aimed at curing HIV.
Awarded as part of the foundation's $100 million Countdown to a Cure initiative, which aims to find a scientific basis for a cure for HIV/AIDS by 2020, the four-year grants are designed to address the major impediment to that goal, namely the persistence of the virus despite the effectiveness of anti-HIV drugs.
Grants were awarded to teams of researchers led by Dan Barouch of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, whose team will investigate the ability of combinations of antibodies to kill latently infected cells in the lab, in monkeys, and then in people; Timothy Henrich of the University of California, San Francisco, whose team will pursue a novel intervention aimed at restoring normal immune function in people with HIV; and Sharon Lewin of the University of Melbourne, Australia, whose team will explore whether drugs that block so-called immune checkpoints can also be effective against HIV, an approach that has proved successful in cancer therapy.
"At $2 million each, these new grants represent the continued expansion of amfAR's investments in research to find a cure for AIDS, and they are among the largest grants we have ever awarded," said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. "They are a reflection of our optimism around cure research and our collective determination...to develop the scientific basis of a cure for this disease."