The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) nearly $8.5 million in a five-year grant that includes renewal of Emory's designation as an NIH CFAR site, Emory University researchers announced today.
The new award, which totals $8,466,322, marks the third time Emory has successfully competed for and been funded by the NIH. It was first designated an NIH CFAR site in 1998 and funding was renewed in 2002. Emory is one of only 18 NIH CFAR sites in the U.S.
The new grant will help facilitate the continued growth of AIDS research at Emory in five core areas: biostatistics, social and behavioral science, clinical research, immunology and virology/drug discovery.
"Atlanta is a national and international leader in AIDS research, education and treatment," says James W. Curran, MD, MPH, dean of Emory's Rollins School of Public Health and Emory CFAR principal investigator and co-director for administration and HIV policy. "Our opportunities to translate research into practice are unsurpassed. CFAR members and community partners have already made a substantive contribution to mitigating the physical, social and emotional suffering caused by the AIDS pandemic."
In the years since the Emory CFAR was first established, total HIV/AIDS research funding at Emory increased nearly three-fold from $23 million in 1996 to $59 million in 2005. The University's AIDS research program now encompasses the full translational pipeline from concept to community in the domains of vaccines, drug discovery and behavioral interventions.
"The Emory CFAR has been a cornerstone of Georgia's role as a national leader in HIV/AIDS research and development and is integral to the state's new initiative in next-generation vaccines and therapeutics aimed at developing breakthrough approaches for preventing and treating chronic and infectious diseases," says Mike Cassidy, president and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance, which provides significant funding and support to the Emory CFAR.
The Emory CFAR includes more than 120 member investigators from Emory, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse School of Medicine who collaborate in the areas of clinical, prevention, vaccine and basic science HIV research. Of the approximately 10,000 patients receiving healthcare for HIV/AIDS in Atlanta, Emory CFAR clinicians and physicians provide care to nearly 7,000 of them.
"The work done by and in collaboration with Emory CFAR members has had a positive impact around the globe," says Carlos del Rio, MD, Emory CFAR co-director of clinical science and international research, Emory professor of infectious diseases, and director of the NIH-funded Emory AIDS International Training and Research Program. "The Emory CFAR has trained hundreds of HIV/AIDS investigators, educators, policy-makers and community advocates and has helped to expand the ability of more than 20 countries to address their own AIDS epidemics."
Among accomplishments by members of the Emory CFAR:
- The designation of Dr. Jeffrey Lennox (Emory School of Medicine) as principal investigator of Emory's new NIH-funded HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, a primary site nationally in both the AIDS Clinical Trials Group and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network
- The development by Drs. Raymond Schinazi (Emory School of Medicine) and Dennis Liotta (Emory College) of multiple first-line agents used around the world for the treatment of HIV infection
- The discovery by Drs. Vincent C. Bond, Mike Powell and Gale Newman (Morehouse School of Medicine) that secreted Nef protein plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of HIV/AIDS
- The development by Dr. Harriet Robinson (Yerkes National Primate Research Center/Emory Vaccine Center) of a highly promising DNA/pox virus, prime/boost AIDS vaccine now in human trials
- The design by Drs. Gina Wingood and Ralph DiClemente (Rollins School of Public Health) of three evidence-based HIV prevention interventions that have been included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) behavioral interventions program
- The establishment in Rwanda and Zambia of the world's largest cohort of HIV discordant couples by Dr. Susan Allen (Rollins School of Public Health)
"This continued enthusiastic support from the National Institutes of Health through a highly competitive selection process is a testament to the quality and national standing of the HIV/AIDS-related research programs that have been established at Emory," says Eric Hunter, PhD, Emory CFAR co-director for basic science and translational research, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar.
The Emory CFAR is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and five other NIH institutes: the National Cancer Institute; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; and the National Institute of Mental Health. The CFAR is also supported by institutional funds from Emory University.
For more information about Emory's Center for AIDS Research, visit www.cfar.emory.edu.