The Collaborative Clinical Trials Unit at UC San Diego has been selected to lead and administer an international seven-year, $28 million grant for HIV/AIDS clinical trials.
The National Institutes of Health selected UCSD, along with other American, South African and Indian research hospitals, as part of its seven-year HIV/AIDS funding renewal. Every seven years, NIH competitively renews its funding of the HIV clinical trials networks operating in the United States and internationally.
During the current application process, the UC San Diego AntiViral
Research Center, University of Colorado Hospital, Houston AIDS Research Team and Durban International clinical research sites were chosen to work collaboratively on research priorities for the NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases HIV/AIDS Adult Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network.
The Chennai Antiviral Research and Treatment Center, University of Southern California and University of Miami clinical research sites were also chosen to join UCSD to serve as qualified reserve or protocol-specific sites as needed for future clinical trials.
"UC San Diego has helped shape HIV/AIDS research and treatment through innovative research since the inception of the adult and pediatric therapeutic clinical trials networks in 1986,'' said principal investigator Dr. Constance A. Benson, director of UCSD's Antiviral Research Center.
"Together, the seven clinical research sites selected by the NIH for the HIV therapeutic clinical trials network bring together a wealth of scientific expertise, experience and the high quality performance required to conduct complex clinical trials,'' she said.
About 38 million people are living with HIV/AIDS globally, with 1.7 million acquiring HIV in 2019 alone. In the United States, 1.2 million people are living with the virus.
The UCSD-led clinical trials unit serves several regions in the United States burdened by chronic and new HIV infections as well as global regions impacted by both HIV and tuberculosis.
The unit will investigate therapeutic strategies aimed at a cure for HIV, including evaluating viral persistence, researching antibody approaches to treatment and prevention and investigating treatment of inflammation and its impact on HIV comorbidities.
In addition, investigators will study new drugs including long-acting drug formulations for HIV treatment and prevention, HIV-related coinfections and comorbidities -- including metabolic and end organ complications and a hepatitis B cure, as well as the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis, including TB preventive vaccines, in persons with mono- and HIV-coinfection.
"We are honored to lead a talented pool of investigators in a common goal of advancing research that clinically benefits people living with HIV,'' Benson said.