July 14, 2006

Vermund to lead international HIV trials

Featured Image

Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., has been named to lead an international HIV/AIDS prevention clinical trials initiative.
Photo by Anne Rayner

Vermund to lead international HIV trials

Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., director of The Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, has been selected to lead one of six new clinical trial units created by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to combat HIV/AIDS around the globe.

The NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced the roster of principal investigators recently as part of the rollout of its newly restructured clinical trials network.

Total funding for the six new clinical trial units (CTUs) is expected to reach $285 million during the first year of operation. Awards for the individual CTUs are expected to be announced later this year.

As primary investigator of the newly formed HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), Vermund will guide prevention trials around the world.

He will lead a core of operations that will: provide administrative and technical support; create a statistical and data management center; and develop a network laboratory structure for the HIV/AIDS clinical trials networks in the area of prevention for projects around the world.

"With these investigators providing the required leadership, the new clinical trials networks are well poised to help us move the next generation of HIV/AIDS research forward," said NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, M.D. "The new network structure expands our clinical research capacity and strengthens our ability to take advantage of emerging scientific opportunities. By creating a more integrated, collaborative and flexible structure, we will be better equipped to meet evolving global AIDS research priorities."

David Haas, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt AIDS Clinical Trials Program, said Vermund is well suited for the national role.

“The AIDS epidemic is arguably the greatest infectious diseases challenge in history. Sten has been a wonderful addition to the Vanderbilt Meharry Center for AIDS Research,” Haas said. “His arrival at Vanderbilt highlights the ongoing commitment of our leadership to make sure Vanderbilt continues to be one of the top HIV research centers in the world.

Sten's global perspective and his expertise in non-vaccine HIV prevention complement Vanderbilt's already outstanding programs in areas that include HIV clinical care, HIV vaccine evaluation and HIV treatment trials.”

Vermund's own NIH-funded research projects involve the AIDS epidemic in Africa, India and China. He is the Amos Christie Chair in Global Health and a professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology.