NIAID Renews Funding For Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has awarded five-year grants to continue the work of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), the largest continually followed group of HIV-infected or at-risk individuals in the world. Approximately $6 million in first-year funding will be distributed among MACS research centers at The Johns Hopkins University; the University of Pittsburgh; Northwestern University; and the University of California at Los Angeles.

"We're delighted to continue supporting the MACS," says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIAID. "This study has been instrumental in advancing our understanding of the pathogenesis and natural history of HIV disease, and thus has important implications for therapy."

The MACS has enrolled more than 5,600 individuals since 1984. Currently, there are 1,775 active enrollees, of which about 38 percent are HIV-positive. A total of 1,237 MACS volunteers have died of AIDS.

MACS data have contributed to nearly 700 publications in medical and scientific journals. The study's collection of clinical specimens spans most of the history of the HIV epidemic, from uninfected individuals of the early 1980s to long-term nonprogressors - people who remain healthy 10 years or more after becoming infected with HIV - today. Its size and longevity have uniquely positioned the MACS to answer questions that other studies could not easily approach.

"In its 15 years, the MACS has amassed a wealth of clinical information and biological specimens," says Jack Killen, M.D., director of the Division of AIDS at NIAID. "Together with the huge databases to which they are linked, these specimens provide the general scientific community with an invaluable research resource for multidisciplinary investigation." The availability of MACS specimens has led to research collaborations with more than 100 investigators outside the MACS.

The idea for the MACS evolved in the early 1980s, before anyone k

Contact: John Bowersox
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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