A Montréal researcher to lead a national research project to cure HIV

The CanCURE project receives $8.7 million from CIHR

MONTREAL, Nov. 28, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian HIV Cure Enterprise (CanCURE), a collaboration of leading Canadian HIV/AIDS researchers, will undertake an innovative research program to find new effective approaches to cure HIV infection in humans. The project, led by Dr. Éric A. Cohen in Montréal, received $8.7 million in funding from the Canadian Initiative for HIV Cure Research, a partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) and the International AIDS Society (IAS). The investment was announced this morning at the IRCM by Canada's Minister of Health, the Honourable Rona Ambrose.

"My team and I are very proud to receive this support from CIHR," says Dr. Cohen, CanCURE team leader and researcher at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM). "We are happy to continue this extraordinary collaboration between Canadian colleagues, and I would like to congratulate the entire team."

CanCURE ultimately aims to enhance our understanding of how HIV remains latent despite antiretroviral therapy, develop new research infrastructure relevant to HIV cure research, and establish therapeutic strategies that will bring us closer to the discovery of a cure for HIV infection.

"Current HIV treatments improve the health and prolong the life of infected patients, but they fail to completely eliminate the virus," explains Dr. Cohen, who is also Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Infectiology and Immunology at the Université de Montréal. "HIV manages to hide in certain cells of the body, which represents a significant barrier to a cure. The objective of the CanCURE project is to understand this mechanism in order to eliminate the cells that harbour the virus in the presence of antiretroviral therapy and eradicate or control HIV infection."

"The goal of finding a safe and effective cure for HIV is within reach," adds Dr. Marc Ouellette, Scientific Director for the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity. "Strategic and collaborative research will continue to bring us closer to this global goal and we are proud to be supporting Dr. Cohen's new research program with our partners in the Canadian Initiative for HIV Cure Research."

The CanCURE project brings together an expert group of 26 basic and clinical scientists, who span 10 universities and affiliated research centers and operate in outstanding environments favouring high-quality research within their respective programs. The nine principal investigators include Dr. Petronela Ancuta from the CHUM Research Centre, Dr. Jonathan Angel from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Ottawa, Dr. Jérôme Estaquier from the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec, Dr. Keith Fowke from the University of Manitoba, Dr. Andrew Mouland from the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Mario Ostrowski from the University of Toronto, Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy from McGill University Health Centre, Dr. Michel J. Tremblay from the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec and Dr. Éric A. Cohen from the IRCM.

Refer to the Government of Canada's news release for more details on the project's funding, announced in time for World AIDS Day on December 1, 2013.

For more information about the CanCURE initiative, HIV cure research and Dr. Cohen, please refer to the IRCM's fact sheet: www.ircm.qc.ca/Medias/dossier/Documents/FicheInfo_IRCM2013_CanCureEN.pdf.

About the IRCM
Founded in 1967, the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (www.ircm.qc.ca) is currently comprised of 36 research units in various fields, namely immunity and viral infections, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, cancer, neurobiology and development, systems biology and medicinal chemistry. It also houses four specialized research clinics, eight core facilities and three research platforms with state-of-the-art equipment. The IRCM employs 425 people and is an independent institution affiliated with the Université de Montréal. The IRCM Clinic is associated to the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM). The IRCM also maintains a long-standing association with McGill University. The IRCM is funded by the Quebec ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology.

SOURCE: Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)

For further information:

For more information and to schedule an interview with Dr. Cohen, please contact:

Julie Langelier
Communications Officer (IRCM)
(514) 987-5555

Lucette Thériault
Communications Director (IRCM)
(514) 987-5535

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Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)

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