BU researchers receive NIH award to combat HIV-induced chronic inflammation

(Boston)– Suryaram (Rahm) Gummuluru, PhD, associate professor of microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), along with colleagues Nina Lin, MD, assistant professor of medicine and Manish Sagar, MD, associate professor of medicine, have received a five-year, $3.8 million RO1 Award from the National Institute of Aging (NIA)/National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Despite effective anti-retroviral therapy, the frequency of inflammation-associated metabolic problems, such as myocardial infarction, renal insufficiency and neurocognitive dysfunction is high in HIV-infected individuals. The risk for these inflammation-driven diseases is increased as HIV-infected patients get older, suggesting a premature aging phenotype in the HIV-infected population.

The team will investigate whether persistent HIV RNA expression in older HIV+ individuals contributes to chronic inflammation and immune exhaustion resulting in an accelerated aging phenotype.

According to the researchers the findings from this study may eventually allow for the development of effective strategies to decrease or reverse the persistent HIV RNA expression dependent induction of inflammation that drives disease pathogenesis in the growing population of older individuals living with HIV.

The Research Project Grant (R01) is the original and historically oldest grant mechanism used by NIH. The R01 provides support for health-related research and development based on the mission of the NIH.

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