Campbell Foundation Awards Grant to Children's Hospital Boston

The Campbell Foundation in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. has awarded an $85,000 grant to researchers studying HIV/TB co-infection at the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Immune Disease Institute at Children's Hospital Boston.

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the leading causes of death among people living with HIV. According to the World Health Organization, there are estimated to be more than one million people worldwide living with TB/HIV co-infection and it is estimated that of the 22 million AIDS deaths that have so far occurred, one-third to one-half of them can be directly attributed to TB.

In an effort to develop novel treatment regimens, researchers at the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Immune Disease Institute at Children's Hospital Boston have been studying how human host factors/proteins contribute to disease in TB/HIV co-infected patients.

"TB/HIV co-infection has taken a staggering toll on patients worldwide. The Campbell Foundation is pleased to be able to play a role in helping the scientific community learn more about how the human immune system responds to TB/HIV co-infection and in turn develop new treatments."

Ken Rapkin

Program Officer, Campbell Foundation

To help further that research, The Campbell Foundation in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. has awarded Dr. Shahin Ranjbar at Children’s Hospital Boston a grant for $85,000. The funding will be used to investigate how Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTb), the causative agent of TB, manipulates HIV replication and disease progression by affecting the production of a recently identified HIV restriction factor.

“Co-infection of HIV by TB is particularly problematic because TB causes increased levels of HIV in the blood, while HIV causes the depletion of T cells that keep TB latent in healthy people,” says Dr. Ranjbar.  “So, as HIV disease progresses and patients develop AIDS, they become more susceptible to reactivation of TB that is already in their bodies and to new infection by TB, which in turn, damages their immune systems further.”

Dr. Ranjbar and her colleagues at Children’s Hospital Boston are trying to identify host restriction factors that inhibit both infections that may someday be targets of new therapeutics that can inhibit co-infection.

“TB/HIV co-infection has taken a staggering toll on patients worldwide. The Campbell Foundation is pleased to be able to play a role in helping the scientific community learn more about how the human immune system responds to TB/HIV co-infection and in turn develop new treatments,” said The Campbell Foundation’s Program Officer Ken Rapkin. “If successful, this team may find novel treatments aimed at improving current TB/HIV treatment regimens with the ultimate goal of eradicating the HIV reservoirs.”

The ultimate goal within the next five to seven years is to identify new therapeutic targets for drug therapies or the use of RNAi technology (used to regulate the activity of genes) to clinically manipulate factors that govern HIV latency and thus ultimately contribute to an HIV/AIDS cure.

The Campbell Foundation was established in 1995 by the late Richard Campbell Zahn as a private, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. It focuses its funding on supporting alternative, nontraditional avenues of research. In its 19th year, the Campbell Foundation has given away more than $9 million dollars, with about $1 million going to direct services. For more information go to: www.campbellfoundation.net

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Categories: Healthcare, Infectious Diseases

Tags: AIDS, AIDS research, Boston University, HIV, The Campbell Foundation


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