14th Annual IHV International Meeting examines latest updates in the fight against HIV/AIDS and breaking trends in virus research and treatment
BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine hosted its 14th Annual International Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland from Sunday, October 14th through Wednesday, October 17th, 2012. Co-founded and led by Dr. Robert C. Gallo, who pioneered the field of human retroviruses with his discoveries of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, co-discovered HIV as the cause of AIDS, and developed the HIV blood test that has saved many thousands of lives, the IHV meeting brought together the world’s leading virologists and HIV researchers to discuss breaking scientific advances to allow better treatment and prevention of both HIV and viruses that cause cancer.
“The meeting encourages scientists to share the latest breakthroughs in the fight against HIV and virally-associated cancers,” said Dr. Gallo. “Together, we are seeing extraordinary progress as distinguished virology researchers presented remarkable improvements in understanding HIV structure and transmission, best practices in treating patients, and encouraging progress toward a preventive vaccine. We also examined key topics in general virus research, including potential connections to very specific cancers.”
Over 80 leading virologists and international researchers spoke during the meeting. The gathering included world-renowned scientists from IHV and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as leading African, American, Asian, European, and Russian research institutions.
Keynote lectures featured Dr. Harold Varmus, Director of the National Cancer Institute, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In addition, three preeminent scientists – NCI researcher Dr. Thomas Waldmann, Chinese leader Dr. Yi Zeng, and Johns Hopkins professor Dr. John Bartlett – received Lifetime Achievement Awards from their colleagues for their exceptional contributions to the science of virology.
Highlights of meeting sessions included:
- A special symposium on the state of HIV in Africa, with presentations by IHV and leaders from Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa, as well as remarks by Joseph O’Neill, the director of National AIDS Policy in the administration of President George W. Bush, noting the exceptional results that have been achieved by PEPFAR and encouraging ongoing funding for this vital initiative to treat and prevent HIV around the world.
- A review of new techniques in the clinical science of antiviral therapy, featuring Dr. John Bartlett from The Johns Hopkins National Institutes of Mental Health, the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Pablo Tebas, and scientists from Italy, Norway, UNC-Chapel Hill, the U.S. Military HIV Research Program, Gilead, and other public and private institutions.
- Revealing new laboratory research that deepens the science of understanding HIV origins and transmission mechanisms from scientists at Johns Hopkins, Harvard, NIH, the Penn Center for AIDS Research, Emory, and the University of Minnesota.
- Breakthroughs in the structural biology of immunity and vaccines, featuring exciting developments from IHV, the Dana Farber Institute, NIH, the University of Washington, the University of Maryland, the Scripps Institute and the California Institute of Technology, as well as short talks from more than a dozen other researchers from laboratories around the world.
- A full day of presentations on the encouraging progress of research into a preventive HIV vaccine, led off by Dr. Nelson Michael, Director of the US Military HIV Research Program, and featuring research presentations from IHV, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, NIH, Cornell University Weill Medical College, Duke University Human Vaccine Institute, NYU Langone Medical Center, Vanderbilt University Medical School, The University of Tokyo International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, and the Scripps Institute.
- The final session tomorrow will present the latest updates on the connections between viruses and human cancers, a field which has grown dramatically since Dr. Gallo and his laboratory colleagues pioneered studies of the first oncogenic human retrovirus (HTLV-1), with a lead lecture from Dr. Harold Varmus, Director of the National Cancer Institute, and featured talks from premier researchers from NCI, Duke, and Northwestern, as well as institutions in Italy and Japan.
A complete list of meeting speakers and their topics can be found on the IHV website, at www.ihv.org.
Lifetime Achievement Awards:
At a gala event during the meeting, the Institute of Human Virology Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented to three distinguished scientists who have had exceptional influence on the science of HIV and virology. This year, the IHV Lifetime Achievement Award for Scientific Contributions goes to Thomas Waldmann, MD, head of the Cytokine, Immunology and Immunotherapy Section at the National Cancer Institute, for five decades of pioneering contributions to immunology, advances in the understanding of normal and abnormal T-cell biology, and seminal contributions to understanding Human T-Leukemia Virus (HTLV-1).
The IHV Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service goes to Yi Zeng, PhD, Dean of the College of Life Science and Bioengineering at Beijing University of Technology, for a lifetime of leadership in virology and cancer research in China. Dr. Zeng is perhaps best known for discovering of the first example of co-carcinogenesis in humans, when the combination of Epstein-Barr virus infection and particular plant products derived common to Southern China caused nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The IHV Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Medical Education is presented to John Bartlett, MD, Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he served as the longtime chief of the Infectious Diseases Division and became widely recognized as the world’s foremost expert in treatment of infectious diseases and medical education to improve the practice of medicine.
Immediately following the conclusion of the IHV International Meeting, the Global Virus Network (GVN) will convene to further the agenda of establishing a global authority and resource for the identification, investigation, control and suppression of the most severe viral threats to mankind. The GVN was established in March 2011 by Dr. Robert Gallo of IHV, with co-founders Reinhard Kurth (Berlin) and William Hall (Dublin), and soon joined by leading colleagues in virus research from around the world, and now includes representatives from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Canada, China, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, and the United States. The GVN partners with existing public health organizations to provide a coordinated and integrated viral response.
The Fall 2013 15th annual IHV International Meeting will occur in Moscow, Russia, as HIV continues to have a devastating impact on Eastern Europe and the republics of the former Soviet Union. The GVN will host its next meeting in May, 2013 in Munich, Germany, then gather again in Moscow in conjunction with the IHV International Meeting.
PRESS AND MEDIA GUIDELINES and INQUIRIES
For more information about any of the presentations, or to arrange to speak on the record with any of the scientists who attended, please contact Nora Grannell, the IHV Director of Public Relations at 443-823-0613, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE IHV
Formed in 1996 as a partnership between the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the University System of Maryland and the University of Maryland Medical System, IHV is an institute of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is home to some of the most globally-recognized and world-renowned experts in all of virology. IHV is the first center in the United States to combine the disciplines of basic research, epidemiology and clinical research in a concerted effort to speed the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide variety of chronic and deadly viral and immune disorders - most notably the HIV virus that causes AIDS.
Institute of Human Virology (IHV)
Nora Grannell, 443-823-0613