University of California, San Diego

Vice Chancellor - Health Sciences &
Dean, School of Medicine
May 23, 1996
I am pleased to announce the establishment of the UCSD AIDS Research
Institute (ARI) as an Organized Research Unit (ORU). Dr. Flossie
Wong-Staal and Dr. Douglas Richman, two internationally renowned AIDS
researchers, will serve as Director and Co-Director, respectively, of
the new Institute. The goals of ARI are to foster productive
interaction among AIDS investigators at UCSD and provide educational
and training opportunities to the community. Partial funding for ARI
comes from a Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) award from NIH, which
currently provides core resources and research facilities and from
several small grants for new investigators. ARI will seek additional
funding mechanisms to maintain and expand research support and
educational activities.
Investigators at UCSD conduct cutting edge research in the areas of
AIDS pathogenesis, therapy and prevention. In addition to the CFAR
award, UCSD investigators are also recipients of the Strategic
Programs for Innovative Research in AIDS Therapy (SPIRAT) award, AIDS
Clinical Trial Units(ACTU) for adult and pediatric patients, the NIH
Postdoctoral AIDS Research Training Grant, the HIV Neurobehavioral
Research Center (HNRC) award, and individual R01 grants that total
$3.6 million. A Phase I gene therapy protocol utilizing a novel RNA
enzyme to inactivate HIV in AIDS patients received FDA approval in
May, 1996, and will be initiated soon in conjunction with the UCSD
Clinical Research Center and the VA Medical Center.
AIDS is a global epidemic that is predicted to strike 40-100 million
people worldwide by the year 2000. In the United States, more than
half million people have been diagnosed with full blown AIDS, and of
these, two-thirds have died, usually in the prime of their lives. To
battle this devastating disease, it is imperative to step up our
efforts in encouraging innovative basic and transitional research in
the laboratory and clinic and in bringing greater awareness to the
community. The establishment of ARI reflects a long-standing
commitment of the School of Medicine to this mission.
John Alksne, M.D.
Vice Chancellor & Dean