HIV/AIDS

New research from Research!America member Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that a component of bee venom can be safely used to target and kill HIV virus particles while leaving human cells intact. The compound, called melittin, punches holes in the outer protective coat, or ’€œenvelope,’€ of viruses, including HIV. Researchers modified the nanoparticle to protect human cells from the toxin by adding ’€œbumpers’€ to prevent the toxin-laden particles from fusing with cells, yet the smaller virus particles are able to fit between these bumpers and interact with melittin. The lead author on the study, Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, says that application of this new...
Dear Research Advocate, Yesterday, the House passed a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year that includes this year’€™s cuts from sequestration along with an additional one percent across-the-board cut. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration, where we are likely to see higher funding levels than the House version, but with sequestration still in place. Congress seems anxious to avoid the brinksmanship and the government shutdown threats that have characterized past debates. While the less rancorous environment surrounding the CR is a welcome change, the complacency around sequestration is not. As research advocates, we cannot let these cuts stand. Sequestration isn’€™t a...
On March 4, NIH-supported investigators reported the first ever "€œfunctional cure"€ of HIV in a toddler in Mississippi. The child received antiretroviral drugs within hours of birth and continued on the drugs for 18 months, when treatment was stopped. Despite discontinued treatment, the toddler no longer had detectable levels of HIV when seen by medical professionals 6 months later. Subsequent tests confirmed that the child had indeed been "€œfunctionally cured"€ of HIV. Although more research is necessary to see if these results can be duplicated, scientists believe this provides hope for the hundreds of thousands of children born with HIV each year. NIH funding not only supported...
Just released data from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) details the final amount to be cut from federal research program budgets as sequestration goes into effect. The full details are available on the updated Research!America sequestration fact sheet , though previous projections were relatively accurate as compared to these final numbers. Cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration will be higher than previously expected, with a combined loss of $593 million dollars for FY13. That amount is roughly equivalent to ensuring the safety of new medical and biological products at the FDA and programs that focus on prevention...
Research!America’s booth at GHTC briefing On February 26, the Global Health Technologies Coalition held a Capitol Hill briefing, ’€œ Renewing US leadership: Policies to advance global health research .’€ The briefing included displays from global health nonprofits, the launch of GHTC’€™s fourth annual policy report as well as a panel discussion. Panelists included Dr. Lee Hall, Chief of Parasitology and International Programs at NIAID, Dr. Alan Magill, Director of Malaria at the Gates Foundation and Dr. Caroline Ryan, Deputy Coordinator for Technical Leadership at PEPFAR. Each highlighted key U.S. contributions to global health including the development of a rapid TB diagnostic, advances...
February 26, 2013 The Board of Directors of Research!America joins me in extending our deepest condolences to Dr. C. Everett Koop’€™s family, friends and colleagues as we mourn the passing of a visionary leader and champion of medical research. Dr. Koop was well-respected and revered by scientists, the public health community and the public at large, thanks to his unceasing commitment to strengthening government support for research to address health threats. As U.S. Surgeon General, he was known as ’€œAmerica’€™s Family Doctor.’€ Notably, by promoting fitness and raising awareness of disease prevention and immunization, he encouraged individuals to take an active role in their health ...
On December 3, Policy Cures released its fifth annual G-FINDER report , a comprehensive survey of funding for research and development for neglected diseases. The report tracks global public, private and philanthropic investments into R&D for 31 diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and NTDs. In positive news, this year’€™s report shows that total funding has actually increased by $443 million since 2007. The report demonstrates that government funding, which accounts for over two-thirds of all investment, is increasingly going toward basic academic research, rather than product development. Research!America believes it is vital that the entire research pipeline be fully...
Each year on World AIDS Day , December 1, the world unites in the fight against HIV. It is estimated that 34 million people around the world are living with HIV and over 25 million people have died from the disease since 1981. The good news is that strong investments in HIV/AIDS research have resulted in remarkable scientific advances such as new prevention tools and drugs that allow individuals to manage their disease. However, there is still much more work to be done and World AIDS Day highlights the need for continued investments in research, education and improved access to treatment. It is also important to raise awareness of another category of diseases that can undermine efforts to...
When advocates speak with one voice, amazing things can happen. Here in the U.S., with help from high-visibility breast cancer advocates, the federal budget for breast cancer research has increased nearly eight-fold over a 20-year span. More recently, the National Alzheimer’€™s Project Act redoubles public efforts to find a cure for this devastating disease. The fight against AIDS stands as perhaps the most telling example of the power of advocacy. The voices of so many, amplified by entertainment heavyweights, have helped shine a light onto efforts at combating the disease, from prevention to treatment. Research, of course, plays no small part in either area, from the tantalizing goal of a...
The International AIDS Conference has been in town all week, stirring up community excitement, celebrity activism, political commitment and scientific progress for global health, specifically for HIV/AIDS. There is talk of achieving an AIDS-free generation. ’€œWe can’€™t hope to eliminate AIDS in this country or around the world if we just tinker with one little problem or another timidly, at one time, if we let short-term thinking rule the day,’€ Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told a packed room Monday. ’€œSome will claim ’€¦ that in the midst of a global economic crisis we don’€™t have the luxury of leading on this issue, that we ought to scale...

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