A Fred Hutch and University of Washington team of virologists and bioengineers led by Dr. Keith Jerome has received a $200,000 grant — the first phase of up to $1.5 million in milestone-driven funding over four years — to develop nanocarrier technology to deliver therapies to reservoirs of dormant, HIV-infected cells.
The grant is from the New York-based amfAR, or Foundation for AIDS Research, as part of its “Countdown to a Cure for AIDS” initiative, which aims to achieve the scientific underpinnings of a cure by 2020. The hard-to-reach reservoirs are a key barrier to curing HIV.
Almost immediately upon infection, HIV begins to integrate itself into the DNA of some of the longest-lived cells of the body. There the virus lies dormant, unaffected by the lifesaving antiretroviral drugs that keep actively replicating HIV in check. But stop the medication, and the reservoirs rekindle infection.