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Research Program

History

After a blood test was developed to detect HIV infection (called ELISA), a screening program was initiated in the military in 1985. Thereafter, Air Force members identified with HIV infection were seen at Wilford Hall Medical Center (WHMC) every six months for determination of fitness for duty forming the HIV Medical Evaluation Unit. At WHMC, a research study was formed in partnership with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF) to investigate the risk factors associated with this still unknown disease. HJF is a non-profit entity which was established in 1983 to assist military medical research.

In 1986, the U.S. Congress mandated the formation of the United States Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) in order to address this devastating disease through research and vaccine development. This program was centered at the Division of Retrovirology (DR) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). Through this mandate, the DoD Natural History Study was formed in 1987 under the direction of the Department of Clinical Interventions, DR.

In 1990, the Air Force research study merged with the DoD Natural History Study and the Military Medical Consortium for Applied Retroviral Research (MMCARR) was formed. The Navy, which began enrolling patients in 1989, joined the program in 1991 to form the Tri-Service HIV Program. Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) joined the program in 1996.

In 2002, the U.S. Military entered into an agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that established a consortium to conduct research involving HIV-infected military members and their dependents.

Under the agreement, a formal collaborative mechanism was developed, and the Tri-Service AIDS Clinical Consortium (TACC) was formed. As of June 1, 2006 the TACC moved to become part of the newly formed Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Program (IDCRP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) under the auspices of an agreement between NIAID/NIH, USUHS, and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF).

At present, the IDCRP encompasses the HIV group and the General Infectious Diseases (GID) group. The vision of IDCRP is to reduce the impact of infectious diseases on the military population. Then in 2007, WHMC Infectious Diseases along with the HIV Program moved to BAMC to form the SAMMC Infectious Disease Service and HIV Program.

Enrollment in research programs has always been high. This is a strong testimony to the selflessness and humanistic characteristics of our patients. Our program has benefited greatly from the personnel and expertise provided by the HJF. Clinical research coordinators, laboratory personnel, and administrative and support personnel, who are HJF employees, are directly involved in the successful conduct of our research, working closely with our military physicians and staff.

Our HIV clinical research studies have evolved with the changing character of the HIV epidemic, and as our knowledge and understanding of HIV has improved. Much of our early research studied how HIV behaves in the body, and how the immune system fights the infection. We have also focused on establishing the role of genetics in HIV transmission and progression to AIDS as well as determining if there are racial or ethnic differences in the course of HIV illness and immunity against HIV. In all, over 100 major research articles published in well-known medical journals, and several hundred presentations and abstracts have come from the important information learned through our study of HIV.

At the present time, the HIV research population consists of approximately 1600 patients with approximately 500 of the patients enrolled at BAMC. The largest and most important HIV study is our Natural History of HIV in Military Beneficiaries study. This study collects blood samples every six months, and other samples as needed. We also track important changes in health status of our patients. Subjects who participate in this protocol are offered the opportunity to participate in other research studies. For example, we have studied whether HIV drug resistance testing helps improve treatment outcome, and have tracked which foreign HIV strains are causing infection in our deployed troops.

Ongoing clinical research studies are available. Please contact the IDCRP personnel for details if you are interested in participating in our current studies.

Active Protocols:

Investigators

Investigators include active duty Air Force and Army physicians as well as a clinical research physician employed by the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program (IDCRP).

Support Staff

Six clinical research coordinators are employed by the IDCRP. Several coordinators hold a certification in clinical research through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). A clinical site manager, laboratory personnel, regulatory affairs assistant and administrative assistants also support the IDCRP.

Collaborators

Investigators from various institutions such as the University of Texas Health Science Center and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research collaborate on our studies.

Publications

Over 100 major research articles published in well-known medical journals, and several hundred presentations and abstracts have come from the important information learned through our study of HIV.

Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program
www.idcrp.org

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
www.usuhs.mil

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation
www.hjf.org