Thanks to effective antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, more than half of those living with HIV/AIDS in the United States are 50 years or older. While it’s good news that people are living longer, it comes with a price: Premature aging. This often results in numerous comorbidities that are not seen in those who are HIV negative until they are much older.
The Campbell Foundation, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based nonprofit that funds HIV and AIDS research, has awarded a $75,000 grant to Dr. Theodoros Kelesidis, an infectious disease specialist at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The grant will be used to study ways to use two powerful antioxidants designed to slow the progress of HIV associated with T-Cell dysfunction.
“Premature aging is a dire and pressing consequence of chronic HIV infection, so this grant is very timely,” said The Campbell Foundation’s Executive Director Ken Rapkin. “Research has found that the aging process speeds up by about five years on average for those with HIV.”
Dr. Kelesidis and his team will use the grant to investigate whether a novel mitochondrial antioxidant (MitoQ), and another potent antioxidant (4F) can help to stop the progression of T-Cell dysfunction associated with aging.
Chronic HIV infection is a state of increased oxidative stress, persistent inflammation and immune dysfunction, even with the use of potent antiviral therapy. It’s hoped these antioxidants will have a favorable impact on immune dysfunction and/or inflammation and/or oxidative stress that may not be seen in other inflammatory states, according to Kelesidis.
“With financial support from the Campbell Foundation, we will explore whether novel antioxidants improve dysfunction of immune cells that contribute to overall HIV-related aging” said Dr. Kelesidis.
It is the Campbell Foundation’s hope that this grant will lead to preliminary data that will set the stage for additional studies of these potential new therapeutic options.
About The Campbell Foundation
The Campbell Foundation was established in 1995 by the late Richard Campbell Zahn as a private, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. It focuses its funding on supporting alternative, nontraditional avenues of research. In its 22nd year, the Campbell Foundation has given away more than $10.5 million, with about $1.5 million going to direct services.