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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
19-Mar-2014

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Contact: Elena Falcone-Relvas
efalconerelvas@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan

Miriam Hospital receives renewal of NIH grant for AIDS Clinical Trials Group

Group has defined long-term treatment for HIV and performed research since 2000; will continue through 2020

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) A $2.4 million grant renewal will support The Miriam Hospital's continued efforts in research and new treatments for HIV and AIDS. The Miriam Hospital is the largest HIV/AIDS care provider in the state.

The ACTG is a global network of 60 research sites with its operations and laboratory center based at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The ACTG conducts clinical trials in HIV-infected adults to test novel therapeutic interventions focused on HIV-associated inflammation and resulting end-organ disease, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and HIV cure.

Karen Tashima, M.D., the lead researcher at The Miriam, received the National Institutes of Health grant renewal. Tashima leads the ACTG's Providence site, which operates under the program's Harvard/Boston/Providence Clinical Trials Unit. She says, "We are thrilled with the results that have come from the ACTG Network. The Miriam Hospital has been part of the Network since 2000. Our work has allowed us to foster new investigations and treatments for treating HIV and AIDS."

Tashima says, "The ACTG is an important HIV clinical studies network that, for example, proved that mother to child transmission could be dramatically reduced by having the pregnant woman take the anti-HIV medication AZT. Results of other ACTG studies have changed how we treat HIV infection, and have resulted in Department of Health and Human Services HIV guideline changes leading to improvements nationally in the standard of care for HIV treatment."

Dr. Tashima was the lead investigator and study chair for the OPTIONS trial that was conducted at 64 sites across the continental U.S. and in Puerto Rico. The OPTIONS trial was a multi-site study that showed patients with drug-resistant HIV can safely achieve viral suppression the primary goal of HIV therapy without incorporating the traditional class of HIV medications into their treatment regimen. The ACTG trial showed for the first time that treatment-experienced patients can leave out this class of medication, known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI), as part of the regimen. Treatment-experienced patients already need to take three active medications in order to achieve viral suppression, so eliminating NRTI medications can lessen pill burden and side effects.

The Miriam Hospital is the largest care provider in Rhode Island, treating more than 1,500 patients with HIV who are under ongoing care. These patients have access to the latest treatments in HIV through our studies at The Immunology Center. Tashima says that she and other researchers in the ACTG look forward to more promising results coming from the research afforded by the grant renewal, which will allow The Miriam to continue to serve as an ACTG clinical research site for the 2014-2020 time period.

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About The Miriam Hospital

The Miriam Hospital is a 247-bed, not-for-profit teaching hospital affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. It offers expertise in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, men's health, and minimally invasive surgery and is home to the state's first Joint Commission-certified Stroke Center and robotic surgery program. The hospital, which received more than $23 million in external research funding last year, is nationally known for its HIV/AIDS and behavioral and preventive medicine research, including weight control, physical activity and smoking cessation. The Miriam Hospital has been awarded Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services four times and is a founding member of the Lifespan health system. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@MiriamHospital) and Pinterest.

About the AIDS Clinical Trial Group

The AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) Network's Leadership and Operations Center (LOC) is based at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The ACTG Network's mission is to develop and conduct scientifically rigorous translational research and clinical trials to (1) investigate the viral and immune pathogenesis of HIV-1 infection and its complications; (2) evaluate novel drugs and strategies for treating HIV-1 infection; (3) evaluate interventions and strategies to treat and prevent HIV-related co-infections and co-morbidity, and; (4) publish and disseminate results to improve care, and reduce or eliminate morbidity and mortality associated with HIV-1 infection and its complications. The Network has 73 research sites around the world, including 50 domestically and 23 abroad.



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