U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that a $1,030,764 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has been awarded to the University of Rochester for research on the treatment and prevention of HIV. Specifically, the funding will go towards developing better treatment methods and standards of care for people living with HIV and would set up clinical trials for a preventive HIV vaccine at the University of Rochester Clinical Trials Unit.
“The University of Rochester is a hub for nationally-recognized technology research and this grant will add to that reputation,” said Senator Schumer. “The funding will advance the University of Rochester’s groundbreaking research in HIV treatment and prevention, keep our nation’s top scientists flocking to the Rochester area, and most importantly, it may lead to the development of an HIV vaccine.”
“The University of Rochester is home to world-class medical research,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When we invest in new research for HIV, we can unlock discoveries for new treatments and help save more lives, attract even more bright minds to Rochester, and support new economic growth.”
The new award from the National Institutes of Health is a renewal of a research program that the University of Rochester Infectious Diseases Division has had since 1987. It funds the UR HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit to conduct clinical trials through 2018, including research on new treatment options for HIV-positive patients, as well as research studies focused on developing an effective preventive HIV vaccine for those who are not infected with HIV. The thousands of members of the Rochester community who have participated in these studies have made a major contribution to the advances in HIV treatment and prevention that have been realized over the past 20 years.
The grant, headed by Michael C. Keefer, M.D., director of the HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, comes on the heels of the University of Rochester’s new designation by the National Institutes of Health as a Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Only institutions with a certain level of existing HIV/AIDS grant funding are able to compete for a CFAR designation, and the University of Rochester is now one of 19 CFARs across the country.
“The renewal of our treatment and vaccine research program and our new CFAR designation puts the University of Rochester amongst an elite group of institutions conducting AIDS research in this country,” said Keefer. “We are very excited to be able to continue our work to improve the quality of life of those living with HIV and ultimately find a vaccine that will prevent the spread of HIV around the world.”
The grant will specifically be used to fund three clinical research sites, two of which will be operated by the Infectious Diseases Division of the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester. One site will focus on conducting therapeutic research; the other will focus on conducing vaccine prevention research.