Children's Hospital at Strong Receives $500,000 to Continue Studies of Pediatric and Perinatal HIV

October 17, 1996

Physician researchers at Children's Hospital at Strong at the University of Rochester Medical Center have received a grant of $500,000 a year to establish a national clinical trial center that will study pediatric and perinatal HIV in Rochester. The grant, from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, will mean that local children and pregnant women infected with or exposed to HIV will continue to have access to the latest treatments while researchers work to find a vaccine and/or cure for the virus that causes AIDS.

Working with Children's Hospital at Strong in this initiative is the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Strong Memorial Hospital, which provides specialty care for pregnant, HIV-infected women.

"We're very excited about the grant," said Francis Gigliotti, M.D., the principal investigator of the research study. "Doctors at Children's Hospital at Strong have been treating and studying nearly 90% of the cases of pediatric HIV in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region, but funding of the work has been tenuous. This grant means that the children and women who have come to rely on new and alternative therapies, which can be incredibly expensive, can continue to come to us for treatment."

Dr. Gigliotti credits the previous work of Children's Hospital at Strong researchers and clinical staff in obtaining the funding. Researchers have been participating in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, an adult study with a pediatric component, since 1992, and have established themselves as thorough and competent investigators. In addition, research physicians and nurses have maintained an outstanding record of 90% in retaining patients and completing treatment protocols. "Given the hardships experienced by this patient population," Dr. Gigliotti said, "this is a remarkable retention record. It's a reflection of how much our patients want to have access to the latest treatments, as well as how hard our staff works to make sure these patients get the care they need."

Children's Hospital at Strong currently treats 30 children with HIV infection and evaluates 20 HIV-exposed infants each year from the nine-county Rochester area. These children are being treated with several different therapies with the hope that doctors will learn more about what combinations will work to stave off the onset of AIDS.

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