HIV/AIDS: Strategies for an Endgame

LIVE Webcast | Friday, December 13, 2013 | 1:00—2:30 PM EST

Sponsored by Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Join Keystone Symposia for our first free webcast. While the live event occurred on December 13, 2013, you can still listen to the taped broadcast of this 90-minute spirited discussion among a panel of five, all experts in the HIV/AIDS research field. Hear them address questions submitted by the live audience. Discussion focuses on several key areas:

  • What is the quickest, most effective way to end the AIDS epidemic?
  • How should priorities be determined for different strategies — in particular, pre-exposure prophylaxis and vaccines?
  • What are the merits of each of these approaches that make it the optimal strategy?

Meet the Moderator & Panelists

Bruce Walker, M.D. — Moderator

Bruce Walker, M.D. is the Director of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. In addition to clinical duties as a board-certified infectious disease specialist, he conducts research focused on cellular immune responses in chronic viral infections, with a particular focus on HIV.

Dr. Walker leads an international translational clinical and basic science research effort to understand how some rare people who are infected with HIV, but have never been treated, can fight the virus with their immune system.

Dr. Walker is also an Adjunct Professor at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine in Durban, South Africa, where he collaborates with the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and serves as a Principal Investigator in the HIV Pathogenesis Program, an initiative to study the evolution of the HIV and the immune responses effective in controlling this virus, as well as to contribute to training African scientists.

He is a member of the Steering Committee for the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV (K-RITH), a 10-year initiative funded by HHMI to build a state-of-the-art TB-HIV research facility at the heart of these dual epidemics in South Africa. Dr. Walker is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the American Association of Physicians (AAP) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences.

Myron S. Cohen, M.D. is the Yeargan-Bate Eminent Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology and Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians. He serves as the Director of the UNC Division of Infectious Disease and the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease, and as Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Health. Dr. Cohen serves as the co-principal investigator of the NIH HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN).

Dr. Cohen received his B.S. degree magna cum laude from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. After earning an M.D. degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago, he completed training in internal medicine at the University of Michigan and in infectious diseases at Yale University.

Myron ("Mike") S. Cohen, M.D. — Panelist

Dr. Cohen's honors include the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Rush Medical College (2000); the Distinguished Career Award for lifetime achievement in STD/HIV research from the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association (2005); the O. Max Gardner Award, the highest honor in the University of North Carolina System (2008); and the Smadel Award from the Infectious Disease Society in recognition of his work in public health (2013).

Dr. Cohen's research focuses on the transmission and prevention of transmission of HIV. Dr. Cohen helped to develop laboratory methods to measure HIV in genital secretions, as well as methods to determine the best antiviral agents to reduce replication of HIV in these compartments. Dr. Cohen is the architect and Principal Investigator of the multinational HPTN 052 trial, which demonstrated that antiretroviral treatment of people with HIV infection prevents the sexual transmission of the virus. This work was recognized by Science magazine as the "Breakthrough of the Year" in 2011.

Dr. Cohen is the author of more than 500 publications and a book. He has written extensively about the prevention of HIV infection. Much of Dr. Cohen's research has been conducted over the past three decades in resource-constrained countries, especially in Malawi and in the People's Republic of China.

Betsy Herold, M.D. — Panelist

Betsy C. Herold, M.D. is Professor and Vice Chair for Research Development in the Department of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.

Her lab focuses on developing safe and effective strategies to prevent HIV and other STIs. She is studying the effects of HSV infection and other modulators on HIV infection and immunity in the female genital tract and systemically. Her group has developed preclinical models to test and understand the mechanisms involved in pre-exposure prophylaxis against these and other infections.

Dr. Herold directs a Translational Prevention Research Center at Einstein to implement this research work, which includes Phase I clinical studies. She is leading the development of an intravaginal ring designed to provide sustained delivery of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, that has shown efficacy in preventing recurrent exposure to SHIV in non-human primates.

Julie McElrath, M.D., Ph.D. is Senior Vice President and a full member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), where she serves as the Director of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division. She is also a Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington and attends on the Infectious Disease Clinical Service at FHCRC, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the University of Washington.

Dr. McElrath's research pursues a vaccine that will protect against HIV-1 infection and investigates how components of T-cell immunity elicited early in HIV-1 infection contribute to control of HIV-1 disease, how antigen-specific mucosal T cells protect against HIV-1 exposure, and what elements of immunity correlate with protection against HIV-1 infection by vaccine.

Dr. McElrath is PI of the Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit and the HVTN Laboratory Center. She has led the development and expansion of its operations and the GCLP laboratory program to become a highly recognized resource to the HIV vaccine field and beyond.

Julie McElrath, M.D.,
Ph.D. — Panelist

Gary J. Nabel, M.D.,
Ph.D. — Panelist

Gary J. Nabel, Ph.D. is Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer and Deputy to the President for Global R&D at Sanofi. Gary also serves as Chairman of the Strategic Development and Scientific Advisory Council (SDSAC).

Dr. Gary Nabel joined Sanofi in November 2012 from the National Institutes of Health, where he served as Director of the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1999. During his tenure at the NIH, Dr. Nabel provided overall direction and scientific leadership of the basic, clinical and translational research activities of the VRC and guided development of novel vaccine strategies against HIV and other emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, including Ebola/Marburg hemorrhagic fevers, influenza, chikungunya and other viruses.

Dr. Nabel graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1975 and continued his graduate studies at Harvard, completing his Ph.D. in 1980 and his M.D. two years later. He then served as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of David Baltimore at MIT's Whitehead Institute. Before his appointment at the VRC, Dr. Nabel served as the Henry Sewall Professor of Internal Medicine, Professor of Biochemistry, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In addition to his faculty positions, Dr. Nabel also served as the Director of the Center for Gene Therapy and Co-Director of the Center for Molecular Medicine at the University of Michigan.

In recognition of his expertise at the forefront of virology, immunology, gene therapy and molecular biology, Dr. Nabel was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1998. Among his many honors, Dr. Nabel received the Amgen Scientific Achievement Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Health and Human Services Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service. He is a fellow of the American Association of Physicians and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Discussion on this topic continued at a special panel discussion at the joint March 2014 conferences on "HIV Vaccines: Adaptive Immunity and Beyond" and "HIV Pathogenesis — Virus vs. Host" in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Watch the video.