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HIV and AIDS Malignancy Branch

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Overview

The HIV and AIDS Malignancy Branch (HAMB), which was founded in October 1996, conducts laboratory and clinical research in AIDS-related malignancies, HIV disease, and viral-induced tumors. The principal aims of this translational research program are understand the pathogenesis of these diseases and to develop novel therapies for them based on this understanding. Clinical research is currently directed towards AIDS-related malignancies as well as the underlying HIV infection. Much of the research effort in HAMB is directed at the viruses that cause HIV-related malignancies or HIV.

Dr. Hiroaki Mitsuya leads a research program focused on understanding the resistance of HIV to anti-HIV drugs and developing novel drugs to more effectively treat HIV disease, with a particular focus on thwarting drug resistance. Dr. Robert Yarchoan leads a research program that includes both a laboratory and a clinical component; Dr. Thomas Uldrick, a Staff Clinician and Dr. Mark Polizzotto, an Assistant Clinical Investigator, play major roles in the clinical research. The research of Dr. Yarchoan's group is focused on understanding the pathogenesis of tumors and other diseases caused by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also called human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) and developing novel therapies for these tumors. The group is also exploring improved therapies for other HIV-associated tumors, including primary central nervous system lymphoma and anal cancer. Dr. Joseph Ziegelbauer leads a research program focused on studying the microRNAs of KSHV, identifying their cellular targets, and understanding the roles of these microRNAs in the successful adoption of KSHV to its human host and in the pathogenesis of KSHV-associated diseases.

Investigators in the branch have previously made substantial contributions to the development of such AIDS therapies as zidovudine (AZT), didanosine (ddI), and zalcitabine (ddC), and paclitaxel for the therapy of Kaposi's sarcoma. Accomplishments during the past several years have included: the development of darunavir as a highly active protease inhibitor; the identification of novel nucleoside analogs and CCR5 inhibitors as anti-HIV agents; the identification of interleukin-12 (IL-12) and bevacizumab as active agents in patients with Kaposi's sarcoma; the role of hypoxia in activating KSHV infection and specific KSHV genes; and the identification of specific targets for KSHV microRNAs including TWEAKR, IRAK1, and MyD88. The branch provides a unique environment in which to conduct translational research on AIDS-related malignancies and HIV. Training opportunities are available for laboratory and clinical research. The clinical work in HAMB is done in conjunction with the Medical Oncology Service of the Center for Cancer Research, NCI. Members of the branch have collaborations with Dr. Denise Whitby of the AIDS and Cancer Virus Program; Giovanna Tosato of the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology; and a number of other researchers both within and outside the NCI. In addition, members of the branch coordinate their clinical AIDS malignancy effort with the NCI-sponsored AIDS Malignancies Clinical Trials Consortium.

This page was last updated on 1/21/2014.