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History of HIV/AIDS Research at the UR

The UR has a long and distinguished track record in HIV/AIDS research, dating back to the earliest days of the epidemic. Indeed, the first cases of AIDS were described by UR medical school alumnus, Dr. Michael S. Gottlieb, (MD 1973), in 1981 at the time a first-year assistant professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. Take a moment to review contributions the UR has made in the fight against this epidemic:

  • 1986 & 1987 - Clinical research site for HIV treatment (ATCG) and vaccines (HVTN) established at URMC; first HIV vaccine administered to an HIV-negative volunteers in 1988
  • 1987 – First HIV clinic in Rochester established at URMC by Bill Valenti
  • 1988 - FDA Commissioner Frank Young (and former Dean, SMD) creates a new regulatory "Fast Track" approval process — accelerating the approval of new treatments for HIV/AIDS
  • 1990 - UR scientists (Reichman) part of the team that first shows AZT to be safe and effective for treatment of persons with asymptomatic HIV infection
  • 1990 - UR scientists (Reichman Dolin and colleagues) report the results of the first human trial of 2',3'-dideoxyinosine (ddI); ddI goes on to become only the second antiviral drug approved to treat HIV infection
  • 1991 - Results of the first HIV vaccine study led by UR scientists (Dolin, Bonnez and colleagues) are reported
  • 1991 – First demonstration of a cellular immune response to a preventive HIV vaccine (Keefer, Bonnez, Roberts, Dolin and Reichman)
  • 1993 – UR Vaccine Clinical Research Site enrolls Rochester volunteers into the first US study of the ‘canarypox-HIV’ vaccine, which ultimately leads to the first preventive vaccine regimen showing a protective effect against HIV infection (in phase 3 ‘Thai Trial’ reported in 2009)
  • 1993 - UR scientists (Rose, Bonnez, Reichman) report that they have succeeded in assembling human papillomavirus virus-like particles - the key first step to making the HPV vaccine
  • 1994 - UR scientists (Gelbard, Epstein) identify early serum biomarkers of neuroAIDS
  • 1999 – UR Vaccine Clinical Research site enrolls first volunteer worldwide to receive a Merck preventive HIV vaccine that employs adenovirus (a cold virus) as a carrier for HIV proteins.  The Merck vaccine moves rapidly into an efficacy trial by 2005, but is shown to be ineffective in prevention of HIV infection/disease in 2007
  • 2001 - UR scientists (Evans, Reichman, Bonnez, Rose) report first-in-human study of a new vaccine for human papillomavirus
  • 2003 - OyaGen founded by Harold Smith in Rochester; seeks to develop new first-in-class inhibitors of HIV
  • 2005 - UR scientists (Jin, Smith) demonstrate that resistance to HIV infection is associated with high levels of APOBEC3G host restriction factor expression
  • 2006 - The HPV vaccine is licensed, and goes on to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year
  • 2006 - UR scientists (Gelbard, Dewhurst, Maggirwar) identify mixed lineage kinase 3 (MLK3) as a potential therapeutic target for neuroAIDS
  • 2007 - UR scientists (Wedekind, Smith) generate the first-ever structure of APOBEC3G host restriction factor
  • 2007 - OyaGen validates its therapeutic concept, showing that an antagonist of HIV Vif protein interactions can block HIV replication in vitro
  • 2008 - UR recognized as a Developmental Center for AIDS Research (D-CFAR) by NIH
  • 2010 - UR scientists (Bambara, Mathews) identify ancient host cell RNA sequences in the genome of HIV
  • 2012 - UR scientists (Kim) and collaborators reveal a new mechanism by which the host protein SAMHD1 can protect cells against HIV infection
  • 2013 - UR scientists (Gelbard, Dewhurst) report the development of a new MLK3 inhibitor that protects against HIV-induced neuronal damage in a preclinical model of neuroAIDS
  • 2013 - UR recognized as a full NIH Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) by NIH
  • 2013 - UR’s NIH-funded Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) renewed for 7 more years under the leadership of Mike Keefer and Amneris Luque - marking over 25 years of continuous participation in NIH-supported clinical research on HIV/AIDS
  • 2014 - UR scientists (Krysan), in collaboration with colleagues at Temple’s Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research, show that breast cancer drugs can be used to inhibit a fungal pathogen that is deadly in persons with AIDS