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Friday, September 11, 2009

TweetThis! amfAR Funding Available – Biomedical Research

Targeted Request for Proposals (RFP): Gene therapy for the treatment and potential eradication of HIV infection

Complete RFP, including forms and instructions, available online at www.amfar.org/rfp

Pre-submission notice must be submitted no later than September 25, 2009

This RFP solicits proposals relevant to the role of gene therapy in the eradication of HIV infection. While gene therapy holds much promise for HIV as well as other diseases, there have been setbacks for the field at large that have hindered progress. Recently, there has been renewed interest in gene therapy following a report in February 2009 in NEJM of a patient in Berlin with acute myeloid leukemia who underwent allogeneic stem cell transplantation with complete replacement of recipient stem cells with CD34+ peripheral stem cells from an HLA-matched unrelated donor who was also homozygous for the CCR5 delta32 mutation. To date, despite being off all antiretroviral therapy for over two years, and off all immune suppressive medications, no HIV has been detected in this patient. amfAR wishes to support basic research exploring the potential for gene therapy in HIV infection, and studies of clinical cases aimed at understanding of the role of transplantation conditioning versus graft cell type.

Specific areas of interest include:
  • Targets for gene therapy: CCR5 is one target--are there others? Do HIV genes or cellular genes or some combination represent the best targets? Are there genes whose function could be enhanced to treat HIV infection?
  • Which are the best vectors for gene therapy in the context of HIV infection? How can efficiency be improved?
  • Can the life of gene therapy interventions be extended?
  • In the Berlin patient’s case, was the conditioning regimen or the gene therapy key to the apparent eradication of HIV? Can use be made of the existing literature, as well as unpublished data from central and local transplant centers and registries, that can be searched to identify HIV+ individuals who have undergone allogeneic stem cell transplants and have stored pathologic material to assess whether HIV eradication has occurred?
Funding will be available for:

Research Grants – $100,000 direct costs plus up to 20% for indirect costs. The performance period for grants awarded under this RFP will be for one year starting March 1, 2010.

Fellowships –Each fellowship is funded for a total of up to $125,000: A maximum of $110,000 is allowed for project-specific direct costs ($45,000 per year for salary and fringe benefits and $20,000 over two years for laboratory supplies). It is expected that fellows will devote a minimum of 85% time and effort to the approved fellowship project. An additional $3,636 is provided to support attendance at amfAR-designated consultations for a direct cost maximum of $113,636. Institutional indirect costs may not exceed 10% of direct costs. The performance period for fellowships awarded under this RFP will be for two years starting March 1, 2010.

Interested candidates are required to submit a preliminary information form no later than September 25, 2009. LOI instructions and forms (due October 12, 2009) will be e-mailed to applicants who have submitted a preliminary information form.

For additional details and preliminary information forms, visit www.amfar.org/rfp

Please forward this e-mail to colleagues who might also be interested in the program or in responding to future amfAR RFPs.

amfAR grants are made to nonprofit organizations worldwide. Applicant investigators, fellows, and sponsors need not be U.S. citizens, and there are no restrictions as to age, color, creed, gender, medical condition, handicap, national origin, parental status, political affiliation, race, religion, marital status, or sexual orientation.

If you have difficulty accessing the RFP or downloading the instructions and forms, please contact grants@amfar.org

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