UNIVERSITY VACCINE RESEARCH CENTER DEDICATES NEW HOPE CLINIC IN DECATUR
New Research Facility Will Conduct Clinical Studies of Promising New
Vaccines for AIDS, Malaria, and Other Infectious Diseases
dedicates The Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Research Center on Wednesday,
April 24 in downtown Decatur. The Hope Clinic is a newly created Emory
clinical research facility devoted to clinical trials of promising new
vaccines and therapeutic interventions. Investigators at the Clinic,
located at 603 Church St. in Decatur, will use the new facility to translate
basic research findings into useful clinical advances in preventing
and treating some of the world's most challenging infectious diseases,
including AIDS and malaria.
The Emory Vaccine Research
Center is home to one of the largest basic and preclinical vaccine research
programs at any university worldwide. The Hope Clinic was created by
the Emory University School of Medicine, the Yerkes Regional Primate
Research Center and the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) to provide
new opportunities for vaccine scientists to advance their research from
the laboratory into human clinical trials.
In celebration of the dedication
of The Hope Clinic, the Emory Vaccine Research Center will sponsor a
public lecture on "Opportunities and Challenges in the Pursuit of an
AIDS Vaccine." The lecture, by Mark Feinberg, M.D., Ph.D., medical director
of The Hope Clinic and Emory professor of medicine and microbiology
and immunology, will take place Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. in the
Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Building Auditorium at
1440 Clifton Rd. on the Emory campus. The lecture is free and open to
Dr. Feinberg will discuss
some of the most exciting work of our times. In the 20 years since AIDS
was first identified, HIV infection has emerged as the most devastating
diseases humankind has ever faced. Dr. Feinberg will talk about the
critical need for an effective AIDS vaccine, the challenges to its successful
development, and explain how recent research advances at Emory and elsewhere
are providing hopeful opportunities to enable achievement of this essential
The lecture is also a thank
you to the community, says Dr. Feinberg, especially those generous Atlantans
who participate in clinical trials of promising new vaccines out of
respect for science and love of humanity.
"The development of a safe,
effective and affordable HIV vaccine represents the best, and potentially
the only practicable, strategy to slow and ultimately stop the spread
of the AIDS pandemic," Dr. Feinberg says. "Novel AIDS vaccine approaches
have recently achieved impressive results in pre-clinical studies in
the laboratory and in animal models, and are now entering clinical trials
in humans. Overall, the level of energy and optimism, as well as the
clarity of direction are now greater in the AIDS vaccine research community
than ever before."
Emory also is sponsoring
a scientific symposium on the search for an AIDS vaccine on Monday,
April 22. A group of the nation's most respected scientific leaders
in vaccine research will gather at Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences
Center Auditorium from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. to present "AIDS Vaccine
Science in 2002: Enduring Challenges and Promising New Directions."
The symposium is sponsored by the Emory Vaccine Research Center and
the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and will address the latest
findings in basic, pre-clinical and clinical AIDS vaccine studies. The
symposium is free and open to physicians, medical researchers, health
professionals, academics, and members of the public health community.
The auditorium is located at 1440 Clifton Rd. on the Emory campus.
The symposium will include
Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D., Georgia Research Alliance professor of microbiology
and immunology and director of the Emory Vaccine Research Center; Emilio
A. Emini, Ph.D., senior vice president for vaccine and biologics research
at Merck Research Laboratories; Dr. Feinberg; Gary Nabel, M.D., Ph.D.,
director of the Vaccine Research Center, National Institutes of Health
(NIH); Neal Nathanson, M.D., vice provost for research, University of
Pennsylvania and former director, Office of AIDS Research, NIH; and
Harriet Robinson, Ph.D., chief, Division of Microbiology and Immunology,
Yerkes Primate Research Center, and Asa Griggs Candler professor of
microbiology and immunology, Emory University School of Medicine.
The Emory Vaccine Center's
basic research program includes 13 core laboratories dedicated to research
in immunology and vaccines, bringing together investigators from throughout
Emory University to tackle diseases including AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis,
influenza and respiratory illnesses.
Vaccine Center scientist
Harriet Robinson is conducting preclinical studies of one of the most
promising HIV candidate vaccines currently under development and plans
to initiate Phase I clinical trials in humans beginning in early summer.
In addition, Dr. Robinson is developing vaccines to target the HIV strains
prevalent in Africa, India and China.
The Hope Clinic already is
conducting clinical trials in healthy volunteers of three promising
HIV vaccines manufactured by Merck & Co. The purpose of these studies
is to evaluate the safety of the vaccines and assess their ability to
stimulate immune responses against HIV. Early results from these studies
indicate that these vaccines are more effective than any previously
studied candidate AIDS vaccines in raising the types of immune responses
believed to be important for controlling HIV infection, and hopefully
preventing HIV transmission.
"While the attainment of
a successful AIDS vaccine will likely take years of hard work and research
innovation, the primary question for the field of AIDS vaccine research
has recently shifted from 'whether' to 'when,'" Dr. Feinberg says.