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April 2012 CFAR Newsletter - On the Cutting Edge of HIV/AIDS Research at UNC

April 2012 CFAR Newsletter - On the Cutting Edge of HIV/AIDS Research at UNC

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Published by: UNC CFAR on Jun 20, 2012
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06/20/2012

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UNC CFAR Investigators on the Cutting Edge of New Research and Developments
NEWS BRIEF:
- To read the PEPFAR ScientificAdvisory Board Recommenda-tions for the Office of the USGlobal AIDS Coordinator:Implications of HPTN 052 for
PEPFAR’s Treatment Programs,
visit
http://www.pepfar.gov/ documents/organization/ 177126.pdf 
- Apply for the UNC CFARDevelopmental Award! Weoffer seed grants (one year) of $5,000-$20,000, available tofaculty/investigators withterminal degrees. Junior andminority investigators areencouraged to apply andapplications will be acceptedfrom UNC, FHI, RTI, NCHBCUs and internationalinvestigators with a connectionto one of the above. Theapplication deadline is May 1,2012. Email Cathy Emrick atcathy@unc.edu for more info.- The AIDS Walk and Ride willtake place on Saturday, May 5on Fayetteville Street inRaleigh. The ride begins at 7:30a.m. and the walk begins at 3p.m. Register at
www.aidswalkandride.org 
- The 2012 XIX InternationalAIDS Conference will be heldfrom 22 to 27 July 2012 inWashington, DC. For moreinfo, visit:
www.aids2012.org/ 
 
The mission of the CFAR is toprovide a multidisciplinaryenvironment that promotesbasic, clinical, behavioral andtranslational research in theprevention, detection andtreatment of HIV infection.
 
April 11, 2012
Volume
4. Issue 3
Center forAIDSResearch
 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This has been a big year for the UNC Centerfor AIDS Research. We are on the cutting edge of new research to possibly eradicate the HIV virus,with investigators such as Dr. Myron Cohen, Dr.David Margolis, and Dr. J. Victor Garcia paving theway for change in the field of HIV/AIDS research.
At this month’s CFAR Community Advisory Board
meeting, we had the pleasure of hearing from bothDr. Garcia and Dr. Cohen about their continuingresearch efforts to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic.Dr. Garcia currently works alongsideDr. Margolis to move past the traditional cycle of 
“treatment, prevention, and diagnosis” and possibly
contribute a true cure to HIV infection. However,this has been an incredibly difficult task. Even the
word “cure” can mean many different things – 
anundetectable viremia without antiretroviral therapy(ART), no disease progression or CD4 cell loss, andlack of HIV transmission. Their actual goal is thecomplete eradication of HIV in the body so that it isno longer able to replicate or be transmitted (toother cells or other persons). Dr. Garcia sharedseveral barriers to the discovery of a functionalcure for HIV, such as the presence of latent infectedT-cells in the body that, as he describes, are cells
where HIV is “taking a nap” but still present. How do
we reach these cells? How do we target the anatomicalreservoirs, such as the brain, where medications oftenfail to reach and eradicate HIV-infected cells? Thesequestions are at the heart of the challenge to find a cure.Dr. Garcia and Dr. Margolis are currently exploringwhere residual HIV viral production originates. They arechallenged to find ways to ethically test therapies sinceHIV is a solely human virus, therefore traditional animaltesting cannot be employed. However, an exciting newdevelopment may help accelerate discoveries from thelab into developing clinical treatments that can be sharedwith the community. Dr. Garcia is an expert in thecreation and use of humanized mice as a researchmodel, and he has been able to reconstitute immunedeficient mice with human tissues by giving the mice abone marrow transplant with human stem cells andimplanting a small piece of the human thymus into theanimal. Just like humans, mice can be infected with HIVrectally, vaginally, orally, or intravenously, and thusscientists can test human HIV therapy on this model.The doctors are working from many angles toeradicate reservoirs of the HIV virus in the body. In thepresence of ART medication, when an HIV cell startsreplicating and producing HIV, it will die. However,
CONTACT:- UNC CFAR Website:http://cfar.med.unc.edu/- Ronald Swanstrom PI -riscunc@med.unc.edu- CODE Office Contacts:Dr. Ron Strauss(ron_strauss@unc.edu) &Vanessa White(VMWhite@email.unc.edu)- Newsletter written/compiled byDanielle Strauss- Disponible en Español:contacta VMWhite@email.unc.edu
 
Continued on Page 2
Dr. Victor Garcia presents a new cycle to end theHIV/AIDS pandemic that includes the possibility of acureDr. Victor Garcia illustrates the process of creating ahumanized mouse for HIV-related testing

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