Dr. Brad Jones, Associate Professor of Immunology in Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, has been appointed to serve as Principal Investigator of REACH (Research Enterprise to Advance a Cure for HIV). As part of The Martin Delaney Collaboratories, which is an NIH flagship funding mechanism, Dr. Jones will be leading REACH in pursuit of a cure for HIV. Formed in late 2020, REACH builds on investigative elements of the BELIEVE Collaboratory. BELIEVE, created in 2016, continues to be co-led by Dr. Jones and Dr. Douglas Nixon, Professor of Immunology in Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Nixon will also serve on the Executive Committee of REACH.
With this recent award from the NIH, Weill Cornell Medicine has received $28.5 million. “This award represents a remarkable vote of confidence and recognition of Weill Cornell Medicine as an international hub of HIV cure research,” said Dr. Jones. “With this funding we will leverage novel technological and analytical methods to redefine how the immune system interacts with the HIV reservoir in people on therapy.” Ultimately, the researchers working on REACH hope to find a cure that will eradicate the HIV virus from the body and/or suppress the virus by boosting the immune system. Either outcome would eliminate the need for lifelong medication.
The REACH collaboratory will be co-led by Dr. Marina Caskey of The Rockefeller University. Eighteen different institutions are involved, including colleagues in Uganda. To date, most research on HIV has focused on subtype B. Working with researchers in Uganda, it is expected that new discoveries will be found regarding subtypes A and E.
According to the World Health Organization, HIV remains a top global health concern with nearly 38 million people worldwide infected with the virus and 770,000 deaths from AIDS in 2018.