The Campbell Foundation Funds HIV Reservoir Research
Specifically, his research team will test the hypothesis that long-term antiretroviral therapy in these patients induces an accumulation of intact proviral sequences in deep latency, while proviruses in permissive chromosomal regions are eliminated by immune-mediated killing.
“Dr. Lichterfeld is well known for his study into reservoir cells or HIV-1-infected cells that persist despite the use of antiretroviral therapy, and which represent the main barrier to a cure for HIV infection,” said Ken Rapkin, executive director of The Campbell Foundation.
Lichterfeld’s request received overwhelming approval from The Campbell Foundation’s Peer Review Board with some suggesting the proposal could “shed light on mechanisms of achieving a functional cure.” Another noted: “The proposal overall will contribute potential new knowledge in the field of viral latency and cure research especially in relation to pediatric subjects.
One peer review member recognized a secondary benefit to the research citing the use of a female scientist from Botswana who is going to assist in carrying out the project. “…the modestly budgeted project is envisioned to translate into a career development step for her. As such, this project may help to nourish HIV/AIDS research and counseling in a country with marginalized groups, gender inequality and a 20% prevalence of HIV.”
About The Campbell Foundation
The Campbell Foundation was established in 1995 by the late Richard Campbell Zahn as a private, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. It focuses its funding on supporting alternative, nontraditional avenues of research. As The Campbell Foundation prepares to celebrate its 26th year, it has given away more than $11.5 million dollars, with nearly $1.5 million of that going to direct services.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL –– May 23, 2022 –– The Campbell Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to Mathias D. Lichterfeld, MD, PhD. and Catherine Koofhethile, Ph.D. to study why HIV persists in a group of adolescents and young adults from Botswana who were infected with HIV during or at birth and who started Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) within the first year of life.
Lichterfeld and Koofhethile of the famed Lichterfeld lab at Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard study HIV-infected cells that persist in infected individuals despite antiretroviral therapy. In the research being funded by The Campbell Foundation, they plan to study how HIV can persist for decades in those who have been on ART for a long period of time.
“While a country like Botswana avails ART freely to its people, the number of adolescents infected with HIV-1 is continuously on the rise. In the absence of a cure, this generation of patients will have to take ART for 60-80 years, which is associated with unpredictable toxicity, high costs and risks for evolution of drug resistance,” said Lichterfeld.