Over the last 40 years, HIV has shifted from a deadly and mysterious virus to one that can be controlled with daily drugs. But attempts to completely eliminate the virus from the bodies of people living with HIV, curing them for good, have failed.

The HIV Obstruction by Programmed Epigenetics (HOPE) Collaboratory aims to both silence and permanently remove HIV from the body, by taking advantage of knowledge about how other viruses have become naturally inactivated over time.

HOPE researchers are focused on a novel “block-lock-excise” approach to find a cure for HIV that doesn’t require continuous treatment. This approach consists of using drugs to block the silent virus from reactivating, and then changing the DNA of latent HIV with gene editing approaches to permanently destroy the virus.

The group is also engaging the community to help ensure that any resulting therapeutics are welcomed—and understood—by people living with HIV.

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In August 2021, the HOPE Collaboratory received a $26.5-million grant (UM1AI164559) from the National Institutes of Health under its flagship program on HIV cure research, called the Martin Delaney Collaboratories program

 

The Team

The Collaboratory is led by researchers at Gladstone Institutes, University of Florida, and Weill Cornell Medicine. HOPE includes members from 16 institutions around the world, and also works with two pharmaceutical companies with insight into the development of potential therapeutics from the drugs studied in the labs. In addition, clinical groups will help provide data and samples from people living with HIV in the United States, Africa, and Brazil.

Leadership

Melanie Ott, MD, PhD
Program Director and Co-Principal Investigator HOPE Collaboratory
Director, Gladstone Institute of Virology

Lishomwa Ndhlovu, MD, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator, HOPE Collaboratory
Weill Cornell Medicine

Susana Valente, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator, HOPE Collaboratory
UF Scripps Biomedical Research

Nadia Roan, PhD
Research Focus 2 Co-Leader, HOPE Collaboratory
Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institutes

Priti Kumar, PhD
Research Focus 3 Co-Leader, HOPE Collaboratory
Yale University School of Medicine

Doug Nixon, MD, PhD
Research Focus 1 Co-Leader, HOPE Collaboratory
Weill Cornell Medicine

Patricia Defechereux, PhD
Community Engagement Coordinator, HOPE Collaboratory
Gladstone Institutes

Robert Furler O'Brien, PhD
Program Manager, HOPE Collaboratory
Weill Cornell Medicine

Sydney Norman
Project Coordinator, HOPE Collaboratory
Gladstone Institutes

 

The HOPE Collaboratory also includes 10 members from organizations around the world, a community engagement coordinator, and four consultants. It also works in partnership with the Last Gift Study at UC San Diego and the African Cohort Study (AFRICOS) at the US Military HIV Research Program, as well as with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and industry partners Amgen,  Sangamo Therapeutics, and Provirex.