Dr. Grant Trobridge, staff scientist in Dr. Hans-Peter Kiem's Clinical Research Division laboratory, is the recipient of a two-year $80,000 Centers For AIDS Research (CFAR) New Investigator Award.
Trobridge's research focuses on gene therapy to inhibit the multiplication of HIV in infected cells. Gene therapy attempts to introduce useful genes into cells through a gene-delivery system, or vector, which is usually a virus that has been engineered to contain a therapeutic gene. Trobridge's project involves engineering the foamy virus — which can infect stem cells that give rise to the immune-system cells that are susceptible to HIV infection — to contain genetic material that could prevent HIV from multiplying.
His initial studies will examine the technique's effectiveness and safety. If successful, this promising approach could lead to stem-cell gene therapy for AIDS.
CFAR, formerly known as the Division of AIDS though the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is part of the National Institutes of Health. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration, especially between basic and clinical investigators, translational research, and inclusion of minorities, as well as prevention and behavioral change research.
Dr. Trobridge's data on foamy-virus vector integration sites in stem cells was selected from more than 5,700 abstracts to be presented on Dec. 6 at the American Society of Hematology's annual meeting in San Diego.