The Cleveland Immunopathogenesis Consortium (CLIC), a group of researchers from 10 academic and research institutions across the United States and Canada led by physicians at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, have received a five-year, $10.8 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how HIV infection results in the progressive immune deficiency that causes AIDS.
The grant will fund four coordinated projects ranging from basic laboratory research to experimental animal models to translational research, which develops clinical applications from basic research findings. This is the CLIC's first grant from the NIH.
"We have formed a team of experienced, outstanding researchers who have been working on this problem and meeting in Cleveland regularly to share their results for the past four years," said Michael Lederman, principal investigator of the CLIC and the Scott Inkley Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. "It is very gratifying to receive the NIH's support for this very important work. Abnormally high levels of immune activation were described in the first reports of AIDS in 1981," Lederman said. "What has not been appreciated until relatively recently is the resultant damage to the immune system that seems to be caused by this activation. Our projects hope to shed light on how HIV causes immune activation and eventually leads to immune deficiency."
The four interdisciplinary projects will explore different aspects of how HIV infection causes immune activation which is believed to cause CD4+ T cell depletion and immune deficiency in HIV infection. Activation of the immune system is a normal healthy response to infection. However in HIV infection, immune activation also appears to drive the progressive decline of an individual's immune system, eventually resulting in AIDS.
In addition to Case Western Reserve University, researchers involved in CLIC are from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Atlanta; University of Montreal; University of Alberta; University of Minnesota; the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda; Rush University, Chicago; and the University of California, San Francisco.
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