UCSF symposium seeks insights into HIV and aging

By Jeff Sheehy

Understanding the processes underlying the diminishing life span of HIV patients, even though they are responding well to anti-retroviral therapy, will be the focus of a daylong symposium on May 18.

Sponsored by the UCSF-Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), the event will cover why this population is experiencing premature aging and dying earlier from non-HIV causes.

“There is a growing consensus that even among HIV patients who are succeeding on therapy, something is causing death at an earlier age—perhaps by as much as 10 to 15 years.  Our CFAR community is taking this clinical observation back to the lab to try and understand the processes underlying this emerging problem,” said Warner C. Greene, MD, PhD, director of the Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology (GIVI) and co-director of the UCSF-GIVI CFAR.

Leading researchers from around the world investigating the role of HIV and immunosenescence (aging of the immune system), the role of persistent HIV-associated inflammation and many of the HIV and aging conditions such as renal disease, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and declining cognitive function will present at the symposium.

“In the early epidemic, people dreamed of surviving a year, but now HIV patients are surviving decades.  Many of our patients have survived into their sixties and beyond, but clinically we are seeing HIV patients experiencing heart disease, kidney and liver failure, and non-HIV related cancers at rates much higher than seen in non-infected patients with similar risk factors,” said Paul A. Volberding, MD, UCSF-GIVI CFAR co-director and professor and vice-chair, UCSF Department of Medicine.

The symposium will be held at The J. David Gladstone Institutes Robert W. Mahley Auditorium at1650 Owens Street adjacent to the UCSF Mission Bay campus, beginning at 9 a.m. The full program can be found, along with information about parking, mass transit and registration online.  The event is free, though registration is required.

UCSF-GIVI CFAR is a multi-disciplinary, multi-campus program focused on translational HIV/AIDS research. CFAR’s mission is to support a multidisciplinary environment that promotes basic, clinical, epidemiologic, behavioral and translational research in the prevention, detection and treatment of HIV infection and AIDS, while expanding the intersections of research between those scientific disciplines.

The J. David Gladstone Institutes, an independent, non-profit biomedical research organization affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is dedicated to the health and welfare of humankind through research into the causes and prevention of some of the world’s most devastating diseases. Gladstone is comprised of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology and the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease.

The UCSF-GIVI CFAR and UCSF CAPS are affiliated with the AIDS Research Institute (ARI) at UCSF. UCSF ARI houses hundreds of scientists and dozens of programs throughout UCSF and affiliated labs and institutions, making ARI one of the largest AIDS research entities in the world.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.