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Friday, July 16, 2010 5:04 p.m.

GW Medical Center receives two multi-million dollar research grants

The National Institutes of Health presented the GW Medical Center with two large-sum research grants, the University announced this week.

The grants – which total $23 million – include a $20 million grant to the Children’s National Medical Center and a $3 million grant for HIV/AIDS research.

The $3 million grant will help provide the infrastructure to fortify research on HIV/AIDS over the next five years, Dr. Alan Greenberg, the co-founder of GW’s HIV/AIDS Institute, said. It is the first institute of it’s kind in the District, Greenberg said.

“This is an incredibly exciting time to be in this field of research,” said  Greenberg, who was instrumental in securing the grant for GW. “With President Obama’s new blueprint for reducing infections and improving care, we have the same goals as the National goals.”

President Barack Obama released a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy – the first for the United States – on July 13. The strategy aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 25 percent, lower the rate of HIV transmission by 30 percent, increase the number of infected people who know their status by nearly 10 percent, raise the number of people accessing care within three months of diagnosis by 30 percent, and increase the proportion of gay and bisexual men, blacks, and Latinos with undetectable viral load by 20 percent.

Greenberg  said the funds will be used to conduct new research on HIV/AIDS, set up a community of medical personnel who can share access to research and findings on the disease, set up a Scientific Advisory Board to ensure that the funds are being allotted for valuable resources, and mentor and recruit new researchers in the area.

“D.C. has one of the highest rates of infection in the country,” said Jennifer Skillicorn, the executive coordinator of the GW’s HIV/AIDS Institute. “It’s time that we put this city on the map in terms of research.”

The $20 million grant to the Children’s National Medical Center – which has a partnership with  School of Public Health and Health Services  – will aid in the innovation of research and development to combat children’s diseases.

“George Washington’s expertise in translating research discoveries into biologics, coupled with the support of the CTSA, will further expand our commitment to developing new diagnostics and vaccines for neglected infections of poverty that affect children right here in our nation’s capital,” Dr. Peter Hotez, a GW Distinguished Research Professor who helped secure the grant, said in a news release.

The CNMC and the GW Medical Center first created a partnership in 2008, with the implementation of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The grant will be used by personnel of both organizations, to promote the Institute’s mission of finding ways to solve health problems that plague children and their families.

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