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University of Pittsburgh Is Named to National Institutes of Health Network of AIDS Trial Sites

PITTSBURGH, January 18, 2000 — The University of Pittsburgh has been awarded a major AIDS research grant to become part of the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group (AACTG), the world’s largest clinical trials network, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

As a member of this prestigious group of research institutions, the University will receive approximately $6 million over five years to support clinical studies at the Pitt Treatment Evaluation Unit (PTEU), the clinical component of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that tests experimental HIV/AIDS medications.

"The AACTG designation is a great honor for the PTEU, as it places us among the nation’s top AIDS clinical research groups," said Deborah McMahon, M.D., PTEU medical director and co-principal investigator of the Pittsburgh AACTG unit. "What’s more, the funding will allow us to expand clinical research and to facilitate patients’ access to therapies. It’s a win-win situation for both the investigators and the study participants."

The AACTG was launched in 1986 to evaluate potential treatments for people with HIV/AIDS. Over the past 14 years, more than 50,000 volunteers have participated in studies, and the network has grown to comprise 32 independent units across the United States.

"Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the AACTG has made enormous contributions in helping people with HIV live dramatically longer and healthier lives," said

NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "AACTG studies have been and will continue to be an invaluable source of scientific data, significantly advancing our ability to treat HIV."

NIAID funding for the University of Pittsburgh and the other AACTG units enables them to continue researching new antiviral therapies, innovative methods of reconstituting the HIV-damaged immune system, and treatments for and prevention of opportunistic diseases and other HIV-related complications.

"In our new role as an AACTG research unit, we hope to help set the group’s scientific agenda by continuing to focus on developing more effective therapies for patients who have developed resistance to HIV drugs through prior treatments," said John W. Mellors, M.D., director of the HIV/AIDS program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and principal investigator of the Pittsburgh AACTG unit.

HIV-positive individuals in the Pittsburgh area who are interested in volunteering in studies at the PTEU are invited to call 412-647-8125 for more information. All calls are confidential.

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