Clinical Research Program Initiatives
The clinical research program at the Immunology Center has grown because
of the outstanding work of faculty in infectious diseases, general
internal medicine, pediatrics and behavioral medicine.
The Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research is under the
leadership of Charles C.J. Carpenter, MD. It is funded by an NIH
center grant, awarded in 1998 in recognition of excellence in
The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment funded a major
three-year grant to Josiah Rich, MD, to provide primary care and
outreach to active injection drug users. The program's focus is
HIV/STD diagnosis and prevention, Hepatitis B and C testing,
Hepatitis B vaccination and linkage to substance abuse
treatment. Funding through the Open Society Foundation and the
American Federation for AIDS Research allows the prescription of
clean needles to prevent further spread of HIV and Hepatitis.
Susan Cu-Uvin, MD, and her team have identified factors that
influence genital tract HIV shedding. This has important
implications for both sexual transmission and vertical
transmission of HIV from mother to child. The effective
suppression of HIV viral load in the plasma has resulted in
suppression of HIV RNA expression in the genital tract.
Resistant virus may shed in the genital tract and be transmitted
from mother to child or to a sexual partner.
Lifespan was awarded an NIH grant enabling Karen Tashima, MD,
and Timothy Flanigan, MD, to join the AIDS Clinical Trials Group
which evaluates HIV treatments. This network has defined
effective long term treatments for HIV over the past 10 years
and fostered investigations into the complex interplay between
immunologic suppression, viral replication and treatment.
Behavioral medicine and infectious diseases joined to develop an
intervention to decrease HIV/STD risk behaviors among young men
leaving prison. As one of four sites funded by the Centers for
Disease Control, the center works closely with correctional and
non-correctional professionals to develop and eventually
evaluate an intervention that may not only decrease HIV risk
behaviors, but also decrease substance abuse and recidivism.