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Johns Hopkins Medicine
Office of Corporate Communications
Media Contact: Jessica Collins
March 16, 2005
2005 GLASER PEDIATRIC AIDS FOUNDATION AWARD GOES TO HOPKINS SCIENTIST DEBORAH PERSAUD
Award will fund research on drug-resistant HIV
Deborah Persaud, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, is the 2005 recipient of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation’s 2005 Scientist Award. The award includes a $700,000 research grant.
Calling the award an "incredible honor," Persaud added that the funds will advance her work on extent, effect and persistence of HIV drug resistance in children exposed as infants to antiretroviral drugs. "This research is critical to developing appropriate HIV prevention and treatment strategies for children," she says.
Using ultra-sensitive genotyping assays, Persaud and her team will study children who received treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the disease, but who nevertheless became infected. The study will include patient populations in both the United States, where infected infants are treated immediately after birth with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to delay disease progression and death, and in Ethiopia, where access to such treatment is limited or unavailable.
"Timely analysis of the prevalence and persistence of drug-resistant HIV in children living in resource-rich and resource-poor settings will provide important insights into the optimal use of antiretroviral drugs for children worldwide," Persaud says.
An estimated 3 million children worldwide are infected with HIV. Antiretroviral therapies now keep children born with HIV alive well into their teenage years and early adulthood, but physicians are seeing an increase in hard-to-treat drug resistance.
Since 1996, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has awarded more than $22.5 million to 33 Elizabeth Glaser scientists, an invaluable network of researchers who work in vaccine development, immune response, breast milk transmission, and other critical areas that impact the entire field of HIV/AIDS research. The prestigious award is named for Elizabeth Glaser, who was infected with HIV through a blood transfusion in 1981. She unknowingly passed it on to her daughter, Ariel, through breast milk and to her son, Jake, in utero. Following Ariel’s death in 1988, Elizabeth joined close friends Susie Zeegen and Susan DeLaurentis to create the Foundation that now bears her name.
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Founded in 1912 as the children’s hospital of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center offers one of the most comprehensive pediatric medical programs in the country, from performing emergency trauma surgery, to finding causes of and treatments for childhood cancers, to delivering a child’s good bill of health. With recognized Centers of Excellence in 20 pediatric sub-specialties including cardiology, transplant, psychiatric illnesses and genetic disorders, Children’s Center physicians, nurses and staff provide compassionate care to more than 90,000 children each year. For more information, please visit: http://www.hopkinschildrens.org