New Not-for-Profit Organization Launched to Combat HIV Resistance

A newly formed non-profit organization, RDI Ltd., will lead an international collaboration to combat HIV drug resistance and enhance the clinical outlook for HIV/AIDS patients. The global network of scientists who conceptualized the HIV Resistance Response Database Initiative (RDI) will guide the organization to develop different approaches to HIV resistance.

Clinical data from thousands of HIV patients throughout the world will be entered into the database, which could then be processed to define complex data to determine the most effective drugs for a patient. This new approach would greatly enhance a physician's ability to improve a patient's prognosis.

"The establishment of our initiative as an independent, not-for-profit organization is helping us collect the data and secure the support we need to define the link between resistance and treatment response more accurately," said Julio Montaner, a member of the RDI Scientific Core Group and professor of medicine and chair in AIDS research at University of British Columbia, Canada.

Now that the initial operation of RDI is fully funded, the organization is seeking longer-term funding and collaborations with various research institutions, pharmaceutical companies and other organizations. "I would urge institutions and companies to get involved with this important initiative now, at the start," said Montaner. "By contributing data and providing financial support they can be part of an important global effort to overcome HIV resistance," he said.

A main reason for HIV treatment failure is that mutations in the genetic code of HIV cause resistance to HIV drugs. The RDI database enhances the predictive power of tests already available to read these genetic changes by relating HIV genetic changes to virological response to drug therapy, using the largest collection of clinical data available.

The U.S. Military HIV Research Group, the BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, Canada, the University of Siena, Italy, intramural scientists from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as numerous individual researchers are involved in or working with RDI. "The key to success of this initiative is the amount of clinical data in the database," said Dr. Brendan Larder, chair of the RDI Scientific Core Group. "While no one company or organization can generate enough on its own, the RDI represents a unique opportunity for individuals, institutions and companies around the world to share their data and I am delighted that it is gathering such momentum," Larder added.

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