The Virology Support Core of this P60 application brings together strengths in translational HIV-1 medical research that will facilitate the clinical and basic science components of this application. Personnel involved in the Core have greater than 10 years of experience in offering supportive services to HIV prevention, natural history and treatment clinical trials with a special focus on women, MSM and substance abuse cohorts that have been heavily impacted by the HIV epidemic. The Core will process and store all biological samples generated by research components 2,3,4. The Core will also provide basic science support for hypothesis driven clinical and basic science studies on the impact of alcohol ingestion on HIV-1-related pathology in several anatomic compartments in primary human tissue and in animal models in support of research component 1 and pilot projects headed by Drs. Wands. The Core will also be actively involved in the mentorship of P60 investigators and trainees by offering didactic lectures on HIV-1 biology. The large number of clinical samples generated both in the United States and Africa will be maintained as a biobank and will be a powerful tool for further studies. The Virology Support Core will provide valuable infrastructure to the proposed alcohol/HIV centered research studies. The Core's activities will allow the creation of a central processing station for all biologic material generated by this P60 and its very existence will facilitate the proposed research. For the past 20 years, a robust HIV-1 clinical care and research program has been extremely active at Brown University and Fenway Health leading to collaborative studies on HIV-1 natural history, antiviral therapy, anatomic viral burden, drug resistance, vaccinology and basic virology. These efforts have received wide support from several granting organizations including NIH, CDC, Gates Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Fund. Furthermore, societal impacts of HIV-1 disease have been explored vis a vis drug addiction and incarceration. An equally robust program has been operational on optimizing HIV-1 diagnosis and treatment in resource poor areas of Africa and Asia. The P60 mechanism now allows a systematic marshalling of resources and expertise to focus on alcohol and HIV-1 and unites alcohol investigators with HlV-1 centered investigators. This joining of forces is transformative in nature, a powerful indicator of the essential synergy that is the backbone of the P60 application.
Alcohol use may cause deleterious effects on the clinical course of HIV through multiple mechanisms such as worsening neurocognitive and hepatic functioning, negatively impacting medication adherence and allowing higher risk behavior. The Core will facilitate the study of alcohol and HIV by offering services to the assembled investigators including specimen processing, basic assay support and virologic input into study design and data analysis.
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