The National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium (NNTC) is a collaborative tissue and data resourcing program in which the Texas NeuroAIDS Research Center (TNRC; B. Gelman, PI) has participated since inception in 1998. The NNTC's purpose is to collect and distribute critical clinical data and tissue specimens from longitudinally- tracked HIV-infected individuals at high risk for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), to support innovative and transformative investigator-initiated research in the NeuroAIDS community-at-large. The NNTC patient cohort is unique because it is the sole pathology-focused longitudinal cohort in the HIV field. The consortium has helped to heightened the relevancy of research overall in the field. Beyond supplying tissue specimens the TNRC provides researchers access to relevant in vivo biomarkers, viral loads, gene expression data, neuropathological changes, and associated HAND cognitive status. This enables clinical and basic science-level researchers to incorporate these critical measures into investigations of the mechanisms driving HAND, HIV-associated pathological effects of HIV infection, or potential HAND therapeutic targets. In past cycles the NNTC has supported hundreds of research reports and grant applications, and would continue to do that into the future. The broad aim of the current TNRC application is to continue the cooperative agreement with other Clinical sites and the NIH, to provide such resources derived from locally-recruited (Texan) HIV patients, and to focus this local resource to address changing and future resource needs of the NeuroAIDS community. The TNRC patient cohort will focus in the future on the aging of the HIV population in the USA, which could inform about how age influences HIV-associated neuropsychological and neurological dysfunction. TNRC will emphasize providing tissue specimens to define the characteristics of the latent HIV reservoirs in the deep body compartments of virally suppressed people. Application for continued support to operate the Texan NNTC clinic site addresses all aspects of the general operating procedures of the TNRC. We describe recruiting practices, neuropsychological evaluations, substance use surveys, neuromedical protocols, autopsy procedure, and specimen repository management. We present proposed strategies to contribute to consortium-wide goals and to obtain synergy with the other units of the NNTC. Continued operation of NNTC and the TNRC will have a lasting and positive impact on the search for remedies for HAND, CNS aging, CNS latent HIV reservoirs and many other HIV-associated pathological conditions.
A cohort of patients capable of producing pathological specimens, such as the National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium (NNTC), provides the HIV/AIDS field with human tissue specimens and clinical information. The NNTC insures that researchers have access to resources that assist in focusing their investigations on clinically important problems, including problems that elderly patients encounter; it also allows researchers using experimental systems to compare their results with what actually occurs in the tissues of HIV-infected people. The resources provided are a vital part of the search to treat HIV-related neurological problems, and to cure HIV/AIDS.
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