Pennsylvania: $17 Million Grant to Help Pitt Researcher Develop Anti-HIV Gel
January 13, 2010
The National Institutes of Health is funding research to develop a rectal gel to prevent HIV infection and to discover whether young gay men would use such a gel conscientiously.
One of two studies, the $11 million Combination HIV Antiretroviral Rectal Microbicide program (CHARM), will investigate topical forms of existing but unlicensed HIV microbicides. Currently, HIV microbicides are more commonly studied for vaginal use.
Assuming animal trials are successful, clinical trials involving 12 to 18 gay men are expected to start within the five-year grant's first two years, said Dr. Ian McGowan, a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine professor in obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, and principal investigator for both studies.
Other research centers taking part are the University of California-Los Angeles; Johns Hopkins University; the University of North Carolina; and CONRAD, a program of the Eastern Virginia Medical Schools.
A second study will look at the practical use of such gels. Researchers will enroll 40 gay men ages 18 to 30 who will receive safe-sex counseling and condoms, then participate in a two-week trial to study the safety of the gel. This project is a four-year, $6.5 million collaboration with researchers at Columbia University.
"There's increasing evidence that men and women have anal sex, too," McGowan said. "If we are interested in HIV prevention, we have to look at options for both men and women." He added that the size of the grants is indicative of the change in Washington, with the Obama administration showing greater interest in funding HIV prevention research than did the Bush administration.
01.09.2010; David Templeton