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Ronald C. Montelaro

University Of Pittsburgh Researcher Receives Grant For AIDS Vaccine Development

PITTSBURGH, October 16, 2002 — Ronald Montelaro, Ph.D., professor of molecular genetics and biochemistry in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine , has received a $90,000 grant from the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) to conduct research that will contribute to the development of a more effective AIDS vaccine.

Dr. Montelaro will examine whether chains of sugar molecules within the envelope, or surface, of the AIDS virus prevent immune cells from breaking into the cell, effecting an immune response.

“Most of the AIDS vaccines that have been created thus far have failed to stimulate an ideal immune response,” said Dr. Montelaro. “Our graduate student, Surojit Sarkar, theorized that these vaccines may be rendered ineffective by the dense shield of sugar chains that surround the virus. Thanks to new funding from amfAR, we will be able to examine the role of the sugar chain in preventing an immune response.”

Getting around the chain of sugar molecules will pave the way for Dr. Montelaro and his team of researchers to begin developing a more effective AIDS vaccine.

AmfAR is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of AIDS research, AIDS prevention, treatment education and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $190 million in support of its programs and awarded grants to more than 1,900 research teams worldwide.

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