amfAR Unveils Launch Of HIV Cure Institute: We Plan To Have The Scientific Basis For The Cure By 2020

Big news today from amfAR. Via press release:

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, today announced the establishment of the amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research, an innovative collaborative enterprise based at UC San Francisco (UCSF). As the cornerstone of amfAR’s $100 million cure research investment strategy, the aim of the Institute will be to develop the scientific basis of a cure for HIV by the end of 2020.

The Institute will support teams of scientists working across the research continuum—from basic science to clinical studies—and will tap into UCSF’s extensive research network across the region. It will involve collaborations with the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology (GIVI) and Blood Systems Research Institute, as well as Oregon Health and Science University; University of California, Berkeley; Gilead Sciences; and the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle, Washington.

“We intend to quicken the pace of cure research by supporting a collaborative community of leading HIV researchers in one cohesive enterprise,” said amfAR Chief Executive Officer Kevin Robert Frost. “The institute will allow them to conduct the science, share ideas, and test and evaluate new technologies and potential therapies in a state-of-the-art environment. And I can think of no better base for such an enterprise than the San Francisco Bay Area, the crucible of technological innovation in America.”

“Furthermore, establishing an institute dedicated to finding a cure for HIV in a city that was once considered ground zero of the AIDS epidemic brings full circle the outstanding work that UCSF’s researchers have been doing over the past 30 years,” added Frost.

  • Ed Burrow

    great job, let’s find the final nail in this coffin. OT, it’s been 10 days since nom’s last money beg, i mean post.

    • bkmn

      I think Brian Brown barricaded himself inside an Old Country Buffet.

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    • oikos

      Maybe the lights have been turned off at NOM.

  • William

    Sangamo has a treatment in clinical trials that looks promising.

  • jomicur

    Fingers crossed. Very, very tightly.

  • avidreader

    So much money has been spent on this already I feel like we should have had an actual cure yesterday, not just a “scientific basis for the cure by the end of 2020”.

    But anyway, I do hope to see that glorious day when they start curing people of this scourge.

  • billbear1961
  • Jan Wesselius

    I am safe from AIDS, by the time I get lucky they will have found a cure for AIDS.

  • If all the issues affecting the most despised members of society were important to the most powerful and privileged members, HIV would have been wiped out as soon as it was discovered decades ago. Since “fags didn’t matter”, now HIV affects everyone. Even if you don’t have HIV nor love someone that does, it now costs a lot of money to us as a society, it has affected the choices we make, the cohesion we have as a community, and deprived us of geniuses, leaders, lovers, and nurturing souls.

    Read “And The Band Played On

    That’s why I don’t understand racism, misogyny and body shaming in the gay community, or bigotry in any minority community. Whether the issue is police brutality, unequal pay, or “looksism”, the injustice of it all circles around to drain resources that we could have used to fight problems that affect all of humanity: cancer, war, malnutrition,illiteracy, religious bigotry (i.e. who is defined as the “chosen people”).

    That’s the next step humanity has to reach. We have to start caring about each other…our weakest members…or everything we’ve ever achieved will eventually go off the rails. If we finally cure AIDS, lets not forget that the battle to redeem ourselves as a species is the final war we ultimately need to win

    • David L. Caster

      The emergence of HIV triggered the greatest advances of all time in the understanding of the human immune system. Could HIV have been cured or at least lives saved sooner and in greater numbers as they are today? Almost certainly. Even if the disease had begun to strike the general population, it is doubtful that the governments of countries that could afford basic research would have reacted much faster than they ultimately did. Such a pattern is clearly evinced by the history of disease and its treatment on this planet.

      I would never make an excuse for Ronald Reagan. To me he was one of the architects of the slow but increasing pace of the decline of the United States and the widening of the gap between the haves and have nots. His administration’s response to the AIDS crisis was disgraceful. Nevertheless, the basic science of immunity simply did not exist in 1980. It took a great deal of very careful work by a lot of people devoting the entirety of their professional scientific careers to unlocking the secrets of how all the parts of the immune system worked, not to mention the fundamental nature of HIV itself and its inner workings.

      To me, the real crime is that the science of medicine seems to advance only in proportion to the economic advantage of a for-profit pharmaceutical industry, and only those with the means to afford care seem to be able to get it. That is a systemic failure of our society, not a single individual.

      • David, you’re correct of course. But while big pharma may have limited access to the wealthy once AZT was discovered, but their negligence didn’t accelerate the epidemic itself.

        The science of immunology and many areas of cell biology wouldn’t be where they are today were it not for modern HIV research. However, the Ebola outbreak in Africa has shown us that public health measures could have contained the epidemic far earlier, once it came to the attention of the medical community and government.

        The difference is that there was a will to contain Ebola, because “the right kind of people” knew they were in significant danger i.e. straight white people with money. In the earliest days of the HIV epidemic, RR couldn’t even bring himself to say the word “AIDS”, much less dedicate the proper resources to it. Had “Patient Zero” Gaetan Dugas been identified earlier, and the earliest gay victims been treated with real respect, the research still would have occurred. Perhaps a cure still could have been found when there were dozens or hundreds of US victims, instead of the millions we have today.

        The worst thing about RR and his Fundie friends was that he treated the plague as “God’s Judgment”, never as a potentially treatable virus or a significant public health issue , even when it became widely known the epidemic was decimating subSaharan Africa. Homophobia and racism delayed the effort to find a cause and cure possibly for 10-20 years. The anti-condom and anti-science Catholic Church is just as guilty as Reagan was of helping this epidemic grow to the extent that it did.

  • BudClark

    You know, if Rock Hudson hadn’t died, and Elizabeth Taylor hadn’t taken up the cause, this would have all happened eventually, but not even THIS quickly.

    Pastafarius DAMN Ronald and Nancy Reagan … Ronald for ignoring the pandemic for eight years, and Nancy for turning her back on a desperately ill Rock Hudson who needed her help to get into an experimental treatment protocol in a French research hospital.

    I remember those days … I remember them well. I was caregiver for three terminally ill young men AND working a 40-hour-a-week job at the San Diego Union-Tribune to keep them in food and medicine.

    • I wonder if we’ve ever met? I grew up around San Diego. I was a newly out, scared twinky boy in the late 80s, volunteering in the “AIDS ward” at UCSD Med Ctr, as I tried to mentally cope with the early epidemic and the sworn enemies I had made simply by being openly homosexual. North Park and Hillcrest were sort of like London during the Bubonic Plague. While I never got HIV, I lost a lot of friends and eventually lovers before I even turned 21

      You could smell the fear in the air as friends and neighbors started dropping like flies and the city fathers and mothers (Remember Maureen O’Connor?) went about humiliating and scapegoating the gay community instead of helping us.

      I remember the lesbians doing laundry, changing adult diapers, and joining the ACT-UP and quieter protests in SD and LA. Making ourselves heard, as well as the Hollywood royalty you mentioned eventually got people to finally listen and see what was happening around them.

  • BudClark

    @BEAVER TALES: I was in San Diego 1976-1993. At various times, I was organist of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Ocean Beach, evening organist at MCC/SD for many years, office manager of the old Gay Center, and office manager of Update / Dawn Media. So I was DEFINITELY “around.”