$4.9 million grant to fund AIDS research

The AIDS Clinical Trials Site at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant that supports testing of treatments for HIV, AIDS and the many complications they cause.


The grant, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will provide up to $4.9 million over the next seven years to the Washington University site and the researchers’ collaborators at Vanderbilt University.

The funding allows the Clinical Trials Site group to continue to recruit patients for testing new ways to treat AIDS and HIV through a nationwide network of research sites known as the AIDS Clinical Trials Group. Centers that belong to the group work cooperatively to enroll patients in trials, making it possible to conduct studies that otherwise might not recruit enough participants.

“Our site has been active in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group since 1988, and together we have led the way in optimizing treatments for AIDS,” said principal investigator David Clifford, MD, the Melba and Forest Seay Professor of Clinical Neuropharmacology in Neurology. “Our work has helped change the prognosis from almost-certain death within a couple years of AIDS diagnosis to life expectancies that are now approaching normal duration.”

Among its many accomplishments, the national AIDS Clinical Trials Group has helped develop and test many of the therapies now used to treat AIDS. The group also has made significant contributions to treatment of infections associated with AIDS, including tuberculosis, herpes virus and hepatitis.

The group’s research includes efforts to develop a cure for HIV and investigations of the long-term side effects of HIV infection and the drugs used to control it. Other trials are studying the damage HIV inflicts on the brain, lungs and heart, and the effects of co-infections such as hepatitis and tuberculosis.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.