Novel Adjunctive Therapies for NeuroAIDS
For 15 years, Harris A. Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D., director of the University of Rochester’s Center for Neural Development and Disease and a member of the Division of Child Neurology of the Golisano Children’s Hospital of URMC, has led a program aimed at optimizing treatment of HIV-associated brain infection and neurologic dysfunction. This HIV-associated neurocognitive disease or “HAND,” as it is called, is a major source of the morbidity of HIV, especially now that combination antiretroviral therapy ("cART") has helped patients with HIV live longer and not succumb to the systemic complications of the disease. Initially supported by foundation funding, the investigators in this NIH-funded program come from three institutions (University of Rochester Medical Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center and most recently, a company, Califia Bio, Inc in San Diego that was started as a result of this program’s previous cycle) and six different scientific disciplines. They include physicians and basic scientists, medicinal chemists from industry, immunologists and neuroscientists, pharmacologists and infectious disease experts. Their research has collectively gone all the way from the laboratory into the clinic and holds the promise of eliminating the brain as a place where HIV can hide and escape the efficacy of currently available anti-HIV drugs.