Published: Nov. 22, 2006
Updated: Apr. 20, 2010
Learn about clinical trial opportunities for people with HIV/AIDS
It has been 25 years since the disease was first diagnosed. AIDS has claimed the lives of over 25 million people; today, around 40 million people are living with HIV.
Even with the most far-reaching education and prevention programs and the most effective drugs, researchers believe a vaccine is vital to checking the spread of AIDS. Meanwhile, education, prevention, and drug development must continue apace.
Here are three important ways Duke is battling AIDS both globally and locally.
Although AIDS drugs have extended the lives of many in wealthy nations, global health experts agree that an effective HIV vaccine would be an extremely valuable addition to the comprehensive prevention strategies necessary to halt the spread of HIV in both developing and developed countries.
Toward that end, the Center for HIV-AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI), a “virtual consortium” of researchers from 36 institutions, was established by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 2005 under the leadership of Barton Haynes, MD, a professor of medicine and director of the Human Vaccine Institute at Duke who has studied HIV for more than 15 years.
In July, 2006 CHAVI received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery, aimed at accelerating HIV vaccine development.
CHAVI’s initial mission is to find out what the immune system does during HIV infection -- including in the rare individuals who control the infection on their own -- and try to produce a vaccine to mimic those responses.
The Duke Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) seeks to create an academic environment that encourages collaboration among all AIDS-related research activities at Duke and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC).
Through CFAR, Duke is establishing a series of critical core facilities designed to promote rapid progress in both basic and clinical research aimed at preventing and treating HIV infection.
“We are trying to do what the National Institutes of Health and the Gates Foundation do on a global scale here at Duke on the local scale,” explains Kent Weinhold, PhD, director of CFAR.
“We want to bring people together who wouldn’t ordinarily know one another, to maximize interactions between researchers in different areas. And we especially want to encourage young scientists. We can’t adequately pass on all the lessons we have learned in the past 25 years of fighting AIDS unless we train the next generation.”
The Duke University AIDS Research and Treatment (DART) Center provides patient care, fosters clinical research, and trains medical practitioners in clinical care. Scientists, patients, caregivers, and community educators see the center as the critical keystone of Duke’s HIV treatment and research.
Over its two-decade history, DART has hosted a myriad of studies of antiretroviral drugs, vaccines, and combination treatments for co-infections of HIV and other diseases. DART also offers special community services for people with HIV, such as free legal advice and home pastoral care.