From the American Foundation for AIDS Research:
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, today announced that it has created a $100 million investment strategy in support of its Countdown to a Cure for AIDS initiative, launched last year with the aim of developing the scientific basis of a cure by 2020. The establishment of the amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research within a major academic research institution with a grant of $20 million will be the centerpiece of the investment strategy.
“This represents the greatest expansion of amfAR’s grant making in the 30-year history of the Foundation,” said Kevin Robert Frost, amfAR’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’re very excited to be launching this strategy and establishing an institute dedicated exclusively to the pursuit of a cure for HIV. Concentrating the minds and the efforts of leading AIDS cure researchers under one roof will facilitate the rapid sharing of knowledge and ideas and create the kind of synergy needed to accelerate the search for a cure.”
amfAR has identified four key challenges that must be addressed and overcome in order to realize a cure. Each of the four relates to the so-called reservoirs of persistent virus that present the most formidable obstacle to a cure. Scientists must pinpoint the precise locations of these reservoirs, determine how they are formed and persist, quantify the amount of virus in them, and, finally, eradicate the reservoirs from the body.
The Institute is expected to house a team of researchers with a track record of collaboration who will work on all four of the key challenges across the research continuum—from basic science to clinical studies. The academic institution that will house the Institute will be selected in the fall of 2015. To complement the Institute, amfAR will award a range of grants totaling $80 million to support the work of research teams worldwide.