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Einstein-Montefiore Center for AIDS Research Receives $8.5 Million Grant from NIH

NEW YORK CITY, NY (May 28, 2008) - The Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has been awarded a five-year grant of more than $8.5 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The renewal grant will fund the Einstein-Montefiore Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for the College, that together conduct some of the most important, fundamental research contributing to our understanding of how HIV infection causes AIDS, as well as develop and provide innovative treatment and support programs for patients. The increased funding received by the CFAR also renews its designation as an NIH CFAR site.

"The award of this grant and the Center's designation as an NIH CFAR after a highly competitive review and selection process is a tribute to our position as one of the leading AIDS research programs in the country," says Dr. Harris Goldstein, director of the CFAR and professor of pediatrics and of microbiology & immunology, as well as Assistant Dean for Scientific Resources at Einstein and an attending physician in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Montefiore. "Our commitment to, and preeminent involvement in, AIDS research goes back more than 25 years, with Einstein and Montefiore investigators at the forefront of AIDS research and patient care since the emergence of the AIDS epidemic."

The CFAR coordinates the diverse research activities of hundreds of investigators at Einstein and Montefiore, who are working with over 70 NIH-funded faculty members representing more than 15 basic and clinical departments. The new grant will support the continued growth of AIDS research at both of the Center's research sites, in particular research programs involved in investigating three Core areas: HIV biology and therapeutics; HIV-associated pathogens and HIV-related epidemiology; and behavior and substance abuse. In addition, the grant will fund further expansion of Einstein and Montefiore International AIDS-related research and treatment programs that have been established in Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa, India and Guatemala.

The many contributions that Einstein and Montefiore researchers and clinicians have made to date include:

· being among the first to describe AIDS in injection drug users and to demonstrate transmission by needle sharing and heterosexual intercourse;
· being the first in the world to identify pediatric AIDS as a distinct disease and to establish a day-care center for children with AIDS;
· identifying radioimmunotherapy (RIT) as a possible therapy for preventing or treating HIV infection;
· developing a vaccine to combat extremely drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which affects many AIDS patients in developing nations because of their impaired immune systems;
· establishing clinics and research programs in developing nations, such as Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa, India and Guatemala, to provide much-needed treatment, as well as education about prevention; and
· genetically engineering immune cells to redirect their infection-fighting ability toward killing HIV-infected cells, a strategy which could ultimately lead to an entirely new approach for combating AIDS and other viral diseases.

"By its design, the CFAR is set up to facilitate interactions between, and collaborations among, Einstein and Montefiore basic and clinical investigators," said Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein. "This is particularly helpful in accelerating the translation of research about how HIV causes AIDS into therapies that treat and prevent HIV infection."

"From the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic, Montefiore clinicians and researchers at Einstein recognized the coming medical crisis," said Steven M. Safyer, MD, president and CEO of Montefiore.  "By combining our respective clinical and research expertise, we created what still stands as one of the most prestigious multi-disciplinary programs in the nation.  The prestige and recognition that come with this NIH grant will enable both institutions to continue to find new ways to treat and care for patients in our community and beyond, and to share valuable knowledge with scientists and clinicians around the world," said Dr. Safyer.

The CFAR was first designated as an NIH CFAR site in 2003 and is currently one of just 20 such sites in the nation.

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