University of Rochester Chosen for Global Network on AIDS Vaccine Research

May 25, 2000

The University of Rochester has been chosen by the National Institutes of Health as one of nine universities that will be part of an intensive, global effort to develop and test potential vaccines against HIV.

The project, called the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, will receive $29 million in first-year funding from the National Institutes of Health. The funding will support research aimed at evaluating the safety and effectiveness of candidate AIDS vaccines. Candidate vaccines will be tested on volunteers throughout the United States, as well as in Third World countries that have been devastated by the AIDS pandemic.

The University of Rochester was chosen as a member of the network because of its expertise in vaccine development and testing, particularly in the area of AIDS. A decade ago, UR was among the first six universities in the world to begin human of trials of potential AIDS vaccines. Researchers Michael C. Keefer, M.D. and Thomas G. Evans, M.D. are currently conducting five NIH-funded studies of three different types of AIDS vaccines. To date their team has conducted 30 clinical trials in which more than 600 area residents have volunteered to receive the potential vaccines.

"The purpose of this new network is to coordinate the work of the world's top AIDS research programs as we search for an effective vaccine," said Keefer, an associate professor of Medicine and head of UR's HIV Vaccine Trials Unit. "We're very pleased that Rochester has been included among this elite group of research centers." Other members of the network include Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Washington.

"I extend my congratulations to Dr. Keefer, Dr. Evans, and all of the individuals involved in the University of Rochester's HIV Vaccine Trials Unit," said Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. "I am delighted that my efforts to boost AIDS research funding here in Congress are bearing fruit at the University of Rochester." Slaughter, who supported funding for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, has lobbied for numerous federal funding initiatives in support of AIDS research.

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