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Consortium of HIV Researchers Puts Philadelphia at Global Center of Research Advances Toward a Cure for HIV/AIDS

PHILADELPHIA — (July, 9, 2019) — Currently, no cure for HIV/AIDS exists, but more than 30 years of scientific advancements in treatment and care made possible because of basic research and clinical trials have improved the HIV therapy landscape. Now, once again, Philadelphia is on the map for its impact as a global center of HIV cure research. 

In preparation for enrolling patients in two clinical trials in search of a cure, The Wistar Institute and partners at Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers, the BEAT-HIV Community Advisory Board and University of Pennsylvania’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) have launched four first-in-class educational videos. The videos feature Philadelphians — HIV clinicians, researchers, patients and advocates — seeking an HIV research cure. These videos aim to demistify studies, and explain how scientific advances depend on the public participating in an HIV cure-directed clinical trials.

“This is our ‘Philadelphia story’ and Philadelphia has become the hub of HIV cure-directed research, especially since Wistar and partners received nearly $23 million in support from the Delaney Collaboratory grant in 2016,” said Luis Montaner, D.V.M., D. Phil, Herbert Kean, M.D., Family Professor and director of Wistar’s HIV-1 Immunopathogenesis Laboratory. “Because of this, we have been able to make remarkable progress in our understanding of how best to attack HIV beyond exisiting therapies. Our videos feature Philadelphia’s impact to advance HIV cure research by presenting this effort in a format that everyone can access — especially anyone looking to participate or understand this effort whether in Philadelphia or anywhere in the world where HIV cure research is underway.”

HIV Cure Research Educational Videos

The videos offer a unique opportunity for people living with HIV, community stakeholders and researchers to become educated about cure research perceptions, understandings and misunderstandings, and address important topics including what it takes to join an HIV cure study and the safety of interrupting anti-HIV medication while participating in the study.

“Our aim for these videos is to dispel any myths and make role models of the people involved in this effort who are participating in a clinical trial,” said Montaner. “With a very diverse cross-section of the people at the frontlines of this effort, the videos explain the experience and risks of participating in an HIV cure-directed study.”

“Game Changers” describes the roles and actions of the people behind an HIV cure-directed study. Experienced community members, medical care providers, case managers, and researchers come together to explain what to expect.

“The Top Ten” reviews the common areas that prospective participants should be aware of when they are considering particpating in a cure-directed study.

“The Art of A.T.I.” showcases what analytical treatment interruption (ATI) is and why it is included in cure-directed studies.

“Time. Commitment.” is a video that features people who have participated in recent studies and provides a platform for them to share their clinical trial journeys.

All of the Beat-HIV Delaney Collaboratory educational videos can be found on BEAT-HIV.org.

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About the BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory 
Part of an international consortium of more than 80 top HIV researchers from academia, industry, government, and nonprofit sectors working toward an HIV cure, the BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory is leading three advanced trials to define effective ways to combine immunotherapy regimes towards a cure. 

About The Wistar Institute 
The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer, immunology, infectious diseases and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. wistar.org.
 

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