Research Leaders Meet for HIV Cure Workshop
November 2011 - More than 50 leading public and private sector HIV researchers, AIDS treatment advocates, and U.S. government officials convened in Baltimore, Maryland, April 20–21, 2011, to discuss challenges in the area of HIV cure-related research and strategies to overcome them.
The “HIV Cure-Related Clinical Research Workshop,” sponsored by the AIDS Policy Project, amfAR, Project Inform, and the Treatment Action Group (TAG), featured an overview of HIV latency, persistence, and eradication research; lessons from past clinical trials; a review of current or impending trials; and a full discussion of issues including trial design, appropriate markers and endpoints, and development of better assays.
Now that a cure has been proved possible by “The Berlin Patient,” the challenge has moved from encouraging researchers to take up cure-oriented studies to figuring out how to design and conduct those studies. What’s more, given that such trials are likely to confer risks to the HIV-positive people who participate in them, researchers, regulators, and advocates must ensure not only that participants are kept safe, but also that research can move forward quickly and confidently, even if the first trials do not produce positive results.
Participants heard a presentation on the ethics of clinical trials and discussed the federal regulatory process and how best to engage the several branches of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a coordinated and collaborative way to work together to ensure that cure-related clinical trials proceed expeditiously, ethically, and safely.
The four conference organizers have issued a report laying out the latest thinking on the core questions on cure research, the key obstacles in front of us, and a series of next steps proposed by conference attendees. To view a PDF of this report, click here.