amFAR announces new institute devoted to finding a cure for HIV

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Paul Volberding, M.D

Officials with amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, announced today (Monday, Nov. 30), the establishment of the amFAR Institute for HIV Cure Research. The new institute will be a collaborative effort based at UC San Francisco and devoted to developing the scientific basis for a cure for HIV by the end of 2020. The institute will be the cornerstone of amFAR’s $100 million cure research investment strategy.

The announcement came during a press conference held early Monday afternoon, just one day before the world marks World AIDS Day 2015.

amFAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost said the foundation “intend[s] ti quicken the pace of cure research by supporting a collaborative community of leading HIV researchers in one cohesive enterprise. 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 Bar Area, the crucible of technological innovation in America.”

Frost added that 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.”

In a statement released immediately following the press conference, amFAR officials said the new 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.” Among the agencies collaborating with the new institute will be the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology and Blood Systems Research, as well as Oregon Health and Science University, Berkely, Gilead Sciences and the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle.

The new institute was established with a $20 million grant over five years, and it will allow teams of researchers to collaborate across institutions and disciplines to address “the four key challenges that must be overcome to effect a cure: pinpoint the precise locations of the latent reservoirs of virus; determine how they are formed and persist; quantify the amount of virus in them; and eradicate the reservoirs from the body.

The director of the new institute will be Paul Volberding, M.D., a UCSF professor of medicine. Joining him on the leadership team will be Mike McCune, M.D., Ph.D., chief and professor of UCSF’s Division of Experimental Medicine; Warner Greene, M.D., Ph.D., director and Nick and Sue Hellman distinguished professor of translational medicine with the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology at UCSF and co-director of the UCSF-Gladstone Center for AIDS Research; Satish Pillai, Ph.D., associate professor of laboratory  medicine at UCSF and associate investigator with Blood Systems Research Institute; Steven Deeks, M.D., professor of medicine at UCSF; Teri Liegler, Ph.D., director of the Virology Core Laboratory at UCSF-GIVI Center for AIDS Research; and Peter Hunt, M.D., associate professor of medicine in the HIV/AIDS division and a member of the executive committee of the AIDS Research Institute at UCSF.

They will work in collaboration with Afam Okoye, Ph.D., staff scientist at Oregon Health and Science University.

“For those of us who watched helplessly as thousands died, the opportunity to try and develop an HIV cure is truly amazing,” Volberding said. “We are proud to have been chosen by amFAR as the only amFAR HIV Cure Institute in the nation. We’re ready to end this epidemic.”

—  Tammye Nash

Stem cell transplant led to ‘cure of HIV infection’

This is really significant news:

On the heels of World AIDS Day comes a stunning medical breakthrough: Doctors believe an HIV-positive man who underwent a stem cell transplant has been cured as a result of the procedure.

Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the “Berlin Patient,” received the transplant in 2007 as part of a lengthy treatment course for leukemia. His doctors recently published a report in the journal Blood affirming that the results of extensive testing “strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved.”

Brown’s case paves a path for constructing a permanent cure for HIV through genetically-engineered stem cells.

My understanding is that medical professionals don’t throw around the term “cure” in professional journals unless they mean it. This just gives the haters another reason to oppose stem cell research.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

In country still sickened by bias, will MD help cure what ails us?

MD-flagIt’s looking more and more likely that Maryland will soon provide headline writers with phonetically easy puns:

A majority of senators on a key committee in Maryland now favor legalizing same-sex marriage, making it increasingly likely that the state will join five others and the District in allowing such unions.

KEEP READING: Md. appears poised to approve same-sex marriage next year [WaPo]




Good As You

—  admin

Full equality is the cure, but here’s a def. positive step for Ill gays

Illinois-State-FlagIllinois gays are one step closer to being one step closer to being equal citizens:

After about an hour of discussion, the Illinois House on Tuesday evening approved legislation legalizing civil unions.

Illinois House Passes Civil Unions Bill [NBC Chicago]

The bill is expected to easily pass the Senate, and Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has stated that he’ll sign. That is unless Santa is more responsive to the anti-LGBT crowd’s “Harumph!” and “but, but, but…” wishes than we’d anticipated.




Good As You

—  admin

Cure for HIV Fat Deposits?

EGRIFTA X390 | ADVOCATE.COMA new drug that treats the excess abdominal fat caused by antiretroviral meds recently received approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

‘Healing gays’: The one ‘cure’ that still makes house calls

From a reader:

The Rev Ralph Ovadal (sp?) from Monroe Wisconsin has targeted a very liberal neighborhood of Madison by distributing door to door pamphlets with the title “What the Bible Says About Homosexuality”.

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Very disturbing to come home to this crap hanging on the front door.

We reply: Thanks, Mr. O, but we’ll stay with the sushi coupons that sometimes find their way to our door handles. Because while both our and your knob jobs might be cold, fishy, and designed to make us feel eel, it’s only the former that embraces our much love concept: Two hard sticks…

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…coming together as a package!




Good As You

—  admin

Will All Doctors Ever Agree On Whether To Recommend the Lesbian Cure Pill?

In September a gaggle of medical groups will release guidelines for doctors on the treatment of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a condition affecting 1 in 15,000 newborns that may result in girls being born with ambiguous/intersex genitalia (among other things), and the increasing use of the hormone treatment dexamethasone that's shown to eliminate the chances these female babies will be gay or exhibit masculine characteristics. So that should get everyone on the same page!

CONTINUED »


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—  John Wright

The Wachowskis Are Guarding Their Iraqi War Gay Romance Story Like It’s the Cure For Cancer

Mega writer-director-producer duo Andy and trans sister Lana Wachowski aren't letting actors, let alone their agents, read the script for their new gay Iraq love story script for fears of leaks, which is certainly a risk when a mega-rep firm gets their hands on one of these things. So all we know is that an Iraqi and an American soldier fall for each other. I would like to wholeheartedly suggest the Wachowskis invite Codey Wilson to at least read for the part of Spurned Ex-Lover No. 1.


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Queerty

—  John Wright