Program areas at Aids Research Foundation or amfAR
Research: Amfar supports Research projects that explore novel approaches to scientifically sound but untested hypotheses in all areas of Research on hiv/aids, funding goal-oriented studies that often lack The preliminary data required for support from traditional grant makers. The Foundation plays a vital role in hiv/aids Research, identifying critical gaps in knowledge and providing essential seed money that enables grantees and fellows to test The merits of new concepts Or technologies that subsequently can be validated through large-scale studies, such as those funded by The u.s. national institutes of health. for further details, see schedule o.amfar fellowships allow talented young researchers to conduct original investigations under The guidance of experienced scientists, helping to ensure The long-term vitality of Aids research.new grants and fellowshipsgrants and fellowships are awarded through a rigorous process of peer review by a team of independent hiv/aids experts drawn largely from The volunteer scientists on Amfar's scientific advisory committee. Guided by its scientific advisors and with The approval of its board of trustees, Amfar pursues a strategic Research plan that focuses on finding a cure for hiv. Amfar's grantmaking program consists of The following types of grants:target grantsthese grants of up to $400,000 are awarded for interventional basic and preclinical biomedical Research projects aimed at curing hiv. Arche grantslaunched in 2010, The Amfar Research consortium on hiv eradication, Or arche, supports collaborative teams of scientists in The u.s. and around The world working on a range of hiv cure strategies.mathilde krim fellowships in basic biomedical researchnamed for Amfar's founding chairman dr. mathilde krim, this fellowship program supports promising early-career scientists advancing innovative solutions to hiv/aids under The mentorship of seasoned investigators. Target grantsin march 2022, Amfar awarded a target grant to anjie zhen, ph.d., of The university of California, los angeles, to support her hiv cure Research. Dr. zhen is determining if chimeric antigen receptor (car) t cell therapy, which has a solid track record in The treatment of a variety of cancers, could be a way to eliminate hiv in a patient's body. Car t cells are genetically altered to seek out and destroy pathogens such as cancer Or hiv, but they have been less successful in The treatment of hiv in large part because over time they become exhausted and ineffective.dr. Zhen's previous study found that found that autophagy - The natural process through which The body cleans debris out of cells - can both enhance The ability of car t cells to fight hiv and reduce The toxicity of latency-reversing agents (lras) used to force hiv out of hiding. With a $100,000 grant provided by Amfar, dr. zhen and her team plan to identify The most effective autophagy-inducing drugs and use them in combination with car t cells and an lra in an effort to eliminate hiv infection. She was also awarded an arche grant later in The year (see below).in june, qigui yu, m.d., ph.d., of Indiana university in indianapolis, was awarded a grant of $100,000 to test a class of drugs approved to treat cancer to eradicate hiv-infected t follicular helper (tfh) cells. Tfh cells usually function to educate b cells in making The most appropriate antibodies to fight infection. But when hiv-infected, tfh cells may play a significant role in spreading infection, given their position in The lymph node, in proximity to other immune cells. Dr. yu will test several compounds in a class of drugs that inhibit The protein birc5, whose usual function is to keep cells alive, and see if these birc5 inhibitors will allow infected tfh cells to die.in september, Amfar awarded almost $1.5 million to researchers looking at strategies that would eradicate The hiv reservoir as well as immune-based strategies to control hiv.anna hearps, ph.d., of The burnet institute in melbourne, australia, will use her $106,088 grant to fill in gaps in what scientists know about macrophages, an important but understudied reservoir of hiv. These long-lived cells are very good at resisting The immune system's attempts to kill them, even when they are infected and ostensibly prime targets for antibodies. Dr. hearps will first identify those anti-hiv antibodies that best recognize infected macrophages as these will likely differ from antibodies that perform well against infected cd4+ t cells. In this targeted approach, The antibodies would help eradicate The reservoir by recruiting natural killer (nk) cells to kill The infected macrophages. She also aims to determine which subset of nk cells are best at killing macrophages, so that these can be expanded and used as part of an immunotherapy to cure hiv.sharon lewin, m.d., ph.d., of The university of melbourne, was awarded a $480,000 grant for a study using The delivery system that worked so well for two very effective covid-19 vaccinesmessenger rna (mrna) encased in a lipid nanoparticle. This mrna vehicle will transport lras to hiv-infected reservoir cells in order to reactivate them, thus making them a target for eradication. No lra has so far proven powerful enough to force hiv-infected cells to start replicating in a way that makes them vulnerable to cell death. In order to boost The potency of The lras, dr. lewin plans to modify The approach by targeting lipid nanoparticles more specifically to infected cells. Using crispr-cas technology, The lra will be gene-edited to bind to The viral dna and directly force The virus to start replicating. Once The components have been optimized, dr. lewin will test The effectiveness of this intervention in mice. Immunotherapy using natural killer cells has been shown to be effective in The treatment of certain types of cancer. Increasingly, hiv researchers are exploring The potential of nk cells to kill hiv-infected cells. Luis montaner, m.d., of The wistar institute, who has been awarded $372,662, will build on cancer Research know-how to engineer and optimize nk cells so that they can bind to antibodies that have already proven effective against hiv. These antibodies will also be modified to better trigger cell death whenever they meet infected cells. Dr. montaner will test this engineered approach in mice to determine whether The product migrates to The appropriate regions of The body and if hiv can be controlled once antiretroviral therapy is stopped. Cytotoxic t cells and nk cells, some of The immune system's most effective killers, are ineffective against The hiv reservoir in part because they do not easily access The regions of The lymph node where a major reservoir persists. In addition, these cells, as with normal cells, are prone to exhausting themselves. Pamela skinner, ph.d., of The university of Minnesota, will use her $480,000 grant to engineer car t and nk cells to migrate specifically to The lymph nodes to enhance their chances of success. In addition, she will modify these cells so that they are able to overcome exhaustion, resist becoming hiv-infected themselves, and endure long enough to kill hiv-infected cells. She will use a new genetic engineering method that could reduce The cost and complexity that currently surrounds car t cell therapy in cancer.arche grantsxu yu, m.d., of Massachusetts general hospital in boston, received a grant worth $1 million to explore how antiretroviral therapy (art) may contribute to an hiv cure. Dr. yu will study 50 people who have been on art for at least 15 years and describe The loss of replication-competent viruses and relative accumulation of viruses in so-called "gene deserts" to determine if hiv has been cleared. Dr. yu and her team previously helped confirm initial findings in The case of a woman, named The esperanza patient, who has apparently cleared hiv capable of producing progeny without The help of art.in a nod to The promise of future technologies, three grants were awarded to support Research into a variety of gene therapies to eliminate hiv-infected cells. Saar gill, ph.d., of The university of Pennsylvania in philadelphia, will receive $180,000 to design a transplant intervention for individuals living with hiv using a person's own gene-edited cells. Before The transplant, dr. gill plans a series of immunotherapy and gene therapy interventions that would eliminate most Or perhaps all of The viral reservoir. The transplanted cells will be gene-edited to protect them from hiv infection. After The transplant, he will use car t cell immunotherapy to help clear out The remainder of The original immune system, which might still harbor hiv. This process will be tested in a small animal model.
Public information: Amfar seeks to translate and disseminate information on important hiv-related Research, treatment, prevention, and policy issues for diverse audiences and to increase awareness and knowledge of The pandemic. Amfar publishes a wide range of educational materials, maintains an informative website, and engages respected public figures, hiv/aids scientists, and policymakers in communicating The need for continued Research to develop new methods of prevention and treatment, and, ultimately, a cure for hiv. for further details, see schedule o. Educational materials Amfar produces periodicals in both print and digital formats, including its newsletter, innovations, published twice a year and distributed to about 18,000 people, and a monthly e-mail newsletter, insights, distributed to approximately 10,000. The Foundation's websitewww.amfar.orgfeatures news, interviews, and original articles covering hiv Research, policy, The global epidemic, and Amfar programs and activities. In april 2022, Amfar relaunched its websitefaster-loading pages, easier navigation, desktop- as well as mobile-friendly, and increased stickability (users are staying 20% longer than before). The website attracts an average of 25,000 visitors per month. Amfar creates and distributes reports, press releases, and updates on major hiv/aids issues and conducts public service advertising campaigns that have been instrumental in educating policymakers, healthcare professionals, people living with hiv/aids, and The public. Amfar's public information team also works closely with The public policy office (see above) to produce a wide range of issue briefs, facts sheets, infographics, and reports.social mediaamfar has vigorously expanded its presence in The social media arena, reaching large numbers of people, including a younger demographic that is often less educated about hiv and The Aids epidemic. The Foundation has expanded its social platforms to include tiktok, targeting The new generation of advocates. Amfar regularly updates its social channels with The latest Research breakthroughs and policy news, as well as detailed coverage from its world-famous fundraising galas. Amfar has over 82,000 followers on facebook, more than 43,000 twitter followers, over 118,000 tiktok followers, and 185,000 instagram followers. Across all of our social platforms, net growth was over 18,000 new followers (an increase of 44%) and total impressions increased 43%.media outreachin fy2022, Amfar continued to work closely with The media to raise The profile of hiv/aids, both domestically and internationally, and to help ensure The accuracy of hiv-related press coverage. Articles and reports involving amfarmany of which included interviews with staffwere carried in numerous media outlets, including nbc news, cnn, npr, associated press, reuters, nature, The new york times, usa today, u.s. news & world report, vanity fair, vogue, people, variety, The boston herald, The boston globe, science, The Washington post, cr fashion book, poz magazine, women's wear daily, us weekly, The hollywood reporter, deadline, yahoo, page six, daily mail, wired, forbes, The bmj, The daily beast, and The hill.fundraising eventsthe public information team assisted in The production of fundraising galas that were held in dallas, Texas, in october 2021; los angeles, California, in november 2021; palm beach, Florida, in march 2022; cannes, france, in may 2022; and venice, italy, in september 2022. Celebrity support Amfar's public awareness efforts are greatly enhanced by The committed support of public figures who lend their voices and donate their time, talents, and resources to help sustain The Foundation's mission. Support of Amfar by prominent public figures began with The late dame elizabeth taylor, Amfar's founding international chairman, and others have followed in her footsteps. Amfar is profoundly grateful for The continuing support of celebrities from all over The world.celebrity supporters included casey affleck, christina aguilera, matteo bocelli, rachel brosnahan, steve buscemi, naomi campbell, charli xcx, patricia clarkson, robert de niro, jay ellis, edward enninful, cynthia erivo, ellie goulding, heather graham, tiffany haddish, regina hall, emily hampshire, tom hanks, tommy hilfiger, vanessa hudgens, kate hudson, milla jovovich, nicole kidman, heidi klum, laura linney, julian lennon, eva longoria, baz luhrmann, madonna, ricky martin, kasey musgraves, dirk nowitzki, rita ora, katy perry, billy porter, michaela ja rodriguez, michelle rodriguez, carine roitfeld, nina senicar, sylvester stallone, marisa tomei, jodie turner-smith, ellen von unwerth, michelle williams, rita wilson, and michelle yeoh.
Treat asia: Amfar's treat asia (therapeutics Research, education, and Aids training in asia) program is a network of hospitals, clinics, and Research institutions working with civil society to ensure The safe and effective delivery of treatments for hiv and its co-infections to adults and children across The asia-pacific through Research, education, and advocacy of evidence-based hiv-related policies. The treat asia network encompasses 21 adult and 21 pediatric sites throughout The region, which collaborate on a variety of projects. for further details, see schedule o. Treat asia scientists produced 24 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals in fy2022.international Aids databasetreat asia manages The asia-pacific section of The international epidemiology databases to evaluate Aids (iedea), a global collaboration established by The u.s. national institute of allergy and infectious diseases. Treat asia hiv observational database (tahod)treat asia pioneered The region's first adult observational database for hiv/aids, which included anonymous data from more than 10,700 patients at 21 clinical sites in 12 countries in its final data transfer in september 2021. The information gathered in The database informs The development of more effective Research and treatment programs and helps define treatment standards specific to hiv/aids in asia. Tahod low-intensity transfer launched in 2014, tahod low-intensity transfer (tahod-lite) contained data from over 51,000 hiv-positive patients across 11 treat asia network sites in its final data transfer in 2021. As an extension of tahod, tahod-lite aims to increase The scope of adult data collection by gathering a subset of core variables from The entire cohort of people living with hiv who have sought care at selected tahod sites.treat asia pediatric hiv observational database The treat asia pediatric hiv observational database (taphod) is a regional pediatric hiv study set up by treat asia in 2006. It was modeled after The adult database and includes data from more than 7,400 children and adolescents at 17 clinical sites in cambodia, india, indonesia, malaysia, thailand, and vietnam.tahod and taphod annual meetingsin november 2021 both The tahod and taphod steering committees held their annual meetings, with thailand-based investigators attending in bangkok and regional investigators joining virtually. Attended by investigators and study coordinators, The meetings included updates and discussions on tahod and taphod data, covid-19-related data, proposed analyses, and ongoing and new sub-studies. Fogarty-iedea mentorship program (fimp) and chimera d43 Research analyses and projects, and future Research strategies were also discussed.integrating hiv, mental health, and implementation science researchin 2019, The u.s. national institutes of health awarded a five-year, $1.4 million grant to treat asia and columbia university to establish an innovative platform for integrating hiv, mental health, and implementation science Research in The asia-pacific region. The objective of The chimera program (capacity development for hiv and mental health Research in asia) is to address The dual and interlinked burdens of hiv and mental health. Co-led by principal investigators dr. annette sohn, Amfar vice president and director of treat asia, and dr. milton wainberg, professor of clinical psychiatry at columbia university and The new york state psychiatric institute, The program aims to build a team within The asia-pacific with The capacity to lead regional hiv-mental health-implementation science Research that will inform public health policy and improve The quality of clinical care for people living with hiv. The program is nested within The iedea (see above) asia-pacific regional Research network that treat asia directs. Chimera creates The opportunity to bring together stellar training faculty from academic centers and public health and development agencies within The region and across The world, and will build on existing nih-funded mental health Research being conducted through iedea asia-pacific.in The first half of 2022, a d43 abstract mentorship program for this year's apacc (asia-pacific Aids & co-infections conference) was arranged to support chimera and other asia d43 fellows. Four class i and one class 2 fellows developed abstracts for submission to The june conference and all were accepted. Throughout fy2022, class i fellows continued implementation of their pilot Research projects, with major strides made in data collection, data coding, and preliminary analysis. In addition, class 2 fellows continued training activities, finalized their Research study protocols, and worked toward irb approval in anticipation of implementing their pilot Research projects. In september, fourteen class 1 and class 2 fellows participated in The amfarcolumbia Research institute training program, traveling to new york city for a weeklong slate of workshops and seminars.treat asia and network partner researchtreat asia and its network partners conduct a myriad of studies, which this year included Research focused on lung cancer, lung impairment in hiv and tb, mental health screening and linkage to care strategies, serology of sars-cov-2, chemsex in young men who have sex with men (msm), and hpv and anal cancer risk among msm, among others. Highlights include:iedea tuberculosis sentinel Research network (iedea tb-srn): The global study aims to describe clinical and treatment outcomes of pulmonary tb and provide a platform for global tb Research among people with and without hiv. Three iedea asia-pacific sites will participate: nchads (kampong cham hospital), cambodia, and national hospital of tropical diseases (nhtd) and national hospital 74, vietnam.iedea sentinel Research network (iedea srn): The global study will assess liver, cardio-metabolic, mental health and substance use comorbidities among people with hiv >40 years of age, on art for more than six months, and is being implemented at two iedea asia-pacific sites: bjgmc in pune, india, and nhtd in hanoi, vietnam. The southeast asia transgender cohort study (seatrans): The regional prospective transgender cohort study received approval from each cohort's ethics committee in early september. The study will enroll 450 transgender participants with and without hiv across four sites in The philippines, thailand and vietnam, to 1) track physical and mental health among transgender people; 2) identify biomedical, structural, and psychosocial factors impacting physical and mental health; 3) describe structural barriers to healthcare; and 4) develop guidance on holistic healthcare policies for transgender people. Suicidal behavior among thai adolescents living with hiv (s-betah): this prospective cohort study aims to determine The prevalence of mental health disorders and suicidal behavior following positive screening and linkage to mental health services. With The first phase completed, The second phase is a three-year prospective cohort study that will assess The prevalence and incidence of suicidality among this population compared with their hiv-negative age- and sex-matched counterparts. Factors associated with suicidality also will be identified.home-based prep for youth: enhancing hiv prevention for young men who have sex with men and transgender women (home-based prep): this three-year prospective cohort study aims to evaluate safety, acceptability and adherence to home-based daily oral prep and point-of-care urine tenofovir test for monitoring prep adherence, among young msm and tgw. The study plans to enroll 75 participants at The silom community clinic in bangkok. The study protocol package is being prepared for mahidol university irb submission. Publicationsin 2022 treat asia continued to publish lay-language articles on hiv/aids Research, policy, and community issues facing The asia-pacific as a whole. The articles and educational pieces appear on treat asia's website, www.treatasia.org.xxiv international Aids conference and other conferencestreat asia staff and network investigators attended and presented at several regional and international conferences on hiv-related issues. Treat asia had a strong presence at The xxiv international Aids conference in montreal, canada, july 29 august 2, 2022. Treat asia director dr. annette sohn and network investigator rena janamnuaysook co-presented nothing about us without us: community-led responses and Research," a study that analyzes The integration of a peer-led depression screening and linkage-to-care intervention among transgender women living with and at risk for hiv in bangkok. Numerous treat asia partner investigators and affiliates also gave poster presentations at The conference.treat asia also participated in: The 24th bangkok international symposium on hiv medicine in january 2022; The conference.