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NIH to Fund Genomic Research Into HIV/AIDS Drug Response

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health is seeking grant applications for projects using genomic technologies to investigate the underlying genetics of HIV/AIDS drug responses and comorbidities with the goal of generating data that can be used to develop new therapeutics and guide treatment regimens.

Despite the growing availability of antiretroviral therapies for HIV patients, adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and treatment-limiting toxicities remain a hurdle to disease control and patient compliance, according to the NIH. Genetic screening and treatment modification, however, have been shown to effectively reduce life-threatening ADRs in a limited number of cases.

Meanwhile, "as antiretroviral therapies have improved and HIV patients can now attain near-normal lifespans, important comorbidities have emerged including dyslipidemias, neurocognitive dysfunction, and accelerated atherosclerosis," the NIH added. The genetic underpinnings of these conditions, however, are largely unknown given the limited availability of genomic data from HIV patients.

To address these issues, the NIH said it aims to fund efforts using high-throughput genotyping, genomic sequencing, and related technologies to identify host genetic predictors of patient response, both in terms of drug efficacy and safety, to HIV/AIDS therapies, as well as predictors of adverse reactions to non-HIV therapies in HIV/AIDS patients.

The NIH is especially interested in projects examining how genomic information may help reduce health disparities and efforts that include typically under-represented patient populations. The NIH didn’t disclose the potential amount of funding for the projects, but additional details about the funding opportunity can be found here.