Although infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been widely researched, there is still not yet definitive proof of its pathogenesis in the human body. Conflicting theories exist regarding exact mechanisms in the progression from HIV infection to AIDS. Unfortunately, no one theory has been accepted that definitively explains the ability of HIV to evade our immune response. It is true that scientific research has produced therapeutic products for HIV-infected individuals that can increase their life-spans and reduce the incidence of opportunistic infections, which caused so much morbidity and mortality at the beginning of the pandemic. But despite highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HIV-associated malignancies still cause almost a third of the deaths in HIV disease and research questions abound. For instance, elucidation is needed to explain the recent increase in non-AIDS defining malignancies;why some of these malignancies present with such aggressiveness as compared to the general population;why increases in lung cancer are not explained by the unusually high incidence of smoking present in this population, etc. Clearly, we need to unravel the aura of HIV-associated malignancies. Therefore, having resources available to investigators working in this important area of HIV research is of paramount importance. The National AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource (ACSR) fills an important role by making available necessary biospecimens and associated clinical data to investigators. The East Coast AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource (EC ACSR) led by the George Washington University Medical Center (GWUMC), is one of the most active members of the National ACSR. The major goals of the EC ACSR are to 1) support the National ACSR (following the NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources, the ACSR Manual of Operations and the ACSR Standard Operating Procedures) as a productive Regional Biospecimen Repository (RBR) by participating in a significant way to assist investigators in the area of HIV-associated malignancy research, 2) continue as a major team member in the scientific and administrative functions of the ACSR, and 3) facilitate interdisciplinary HIV-related studies and the ACSR.
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