Three European virology researchers were awarded research grants this week based on their proposed research projects to investigate novel ways to cure viral diseases. The award-winners were chosen by an independent faculty as part of the Partnering for Cure Program, a first-of-its kind, Europe-wide initiative. The program, sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb, is designed to accelerate innovative scientific research that could lead to cure in viral diseases, namely HIV, hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV).
Partnering for Cure was launched by a faculty of independent virology experts with the shared goals of supporting breakthrough research and facilitating greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing with the virology clinical community. It has been developed and led by a European faculty of independent virology experts from across Europe, including Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Spain and the U.K. with the support of Bristol-Myers Squibb R&D staff.
"While significant advances have been made in virology over recent years, there is more work to be done to be able one day to cure chronic infectious diseases such as HIV, HBV and HCV," said Christine Katlama, Partnering for Cure faculty chair, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris. "The Partnering for Cure initiative is tackling this head-on, joining with the clinical community to support research that will bring us even closer to our ultimate hope of a potential 'cure'."
"We are proud to announce the selected investigators of the first Partnering for Cure research initiative," said George Hanna, M.D., vice president, HIV Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb. "Bristol-Myers Squibb has been a leader in virology for many years and we remain committed to supporting breakthrough research and education in virology with the goal of providing a forum for discussion of emerging science on the nature of chronic viral infections."
The winners of the research grants chosen in a blind evaluation by the Partnering for Cure Faculty are:
The objectives of Partnering for Cure are to provide medical education to physicians interested in virology, provide support to researchers active in virology and provide a forum for physicians and researchers to discuss advances in virology toward a cure.
The Partnering for Cure initiative reinforces Bristol-Myers Squibb's commitment in virology, which is rooted in the company's legacy in virology and ongoing research in HIV and viral hepatitis. Chronic viral infections make a substantial contribution to the burden of chronic diseases and premature mortality worldwide. In Dec. 2012, the Global Burden of Disease Study reported 1,465,000 deaths caused by HIV/AIDS and 1,445,000 deaths caused by viral hepatitis in 2010. Infections with hepatitis B and C viruses also cause an estimated 57% of cases of liver cirrhosis and 78% of cases of primary liver cancer annually. Whilst important advances have been made over the last decade, significant unmet needs and the opportunity for cure remains, particularly in HIV.