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Global Scientific Strategy Towards an Cure to be Presented at Pre-conference Symposium

Posted 20 July 2012, 04:53 A, by Conference Secretariat

By Marie-Capucine Penicaud, Towards an HIV Cure project manager

On 20 and 21 July, in the lead-up to AIDS 2012,theInternational AIDS Society (IAS) will convene a basic and clinical science symposium presenting the Global Scientific Strategy Towards an Cure.

The strategy was launched today by the IAS and its partners, following publication in Nature Reviews Immunology, amid renewed optimism from the world´s leading HIV/AIDS scientists that the future prospects for finding an HIV cure are increasing.  

The symposium programme is articulated around the seven key priority research areas identified by a group of 34 leading HIV scientists and clinicians to develop the Global Scientific Strategy (see table).

Determine the cellular and viral mechanisms that maintain HIV persistence. This includes defining the role of mechanisms that contribute to the establishment and maintenance of latent infection, as well as defining the role of viral replication and or homeostatic proliferation.

Determine the cellular and viral mechanisms that maintain HIV persistence. This includes defining the role of mechanisms that contribute to the establishment and maintenance of latent infection, as well as defining the role of viral replication and or homeostatic proliferation.

Determine the tissue and cellular sources of persistent HIV in long term ART-treated individuals.

Determine the origins of immune activation and inflammation in the presence of ART and their consequences for HIV persistence.

Determine host and immune mechanisms that control infection but allow viral persistence.

Study, compare, and validate assays to measure persistent infection.

Develop and test therapeutic agents or immunological strategies to safely eliminate latent infection in individuals on ART. This includes strategies aimed at clearing latency.

Develop and test strategies to enhance the capacity of the host response to control active viral replication.

The symposium is organized by the IAS and co-sponsored with its long-term partners in the search for an HIV cure: the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS), the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Sidaction and the Treatment Action Group (TAG).

The opening will be a highlight of the symposium, with Prof. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Dr. Steven G. Deeks, co-chairs of the event, introducing Dr. Anthony Fauci, who will give welcoming remarks putting the strategy in perspective with the history of AIDS research, and Dr.Robert F. Siliciano, who will give a broad overview of challenges on the road to a cure and present the latest data from his lab, in particular on assays and quantification.

This 300-participant symposiumseeks to encourage young investigators to work on this priority topic, as well as expose a broad array of stakeholders – basic and clinical researchers, policymakers, community advocates and journalists – to new scientific results relevant to tackling HIV persistence, whether by eradicating the virus (sterilizing cure) or achieving long-term remission in the absence of ongoing therapy (functional cure).

The symposium includes an IAS-TAG community scientific literacy workshop on HIV cure before the symposium opening, which will be reproduced for the broader AIDS 2012 audience on 22 July at 15:45 in Session Room 8.

Detailed rapporteur summaries from the symposium will soon be available on the AIDS 2012 website, and a meeting summary will be published in the Journal of the International AID Society. Many HIV cure sessions will take place at the conference (see the HIV Cure roadmap in the Programme-at-a-Glance), and there will be a press conference with the authors of the scientific strategy on 26 July at 13:00 in the Media Centre.

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