The Clinical and Retrovirology Research Core helps investigators perform clinical studies through:
- Supporting recruitment into clinical, laboratory, and socio-behavioral research studies by triage and referral of HIV-infected patients (or HIV-negative controls ) through a dedicated research nurse at the Harborview and University of Washington HIV clinics.
- Providing and developing virology laboratory support and services, including virological assays to detect markers of HIV disease progression and regression, and assistance with assay development.
Both basic and clinical scientists at CFAR benefit from the services and consultations of the Core. Our dedicated research nurses at Harborview and University of Washington HIV clinics speed the recruitment, screening, and enrollment of appropriate patients into new translational studies.
With our HIV Specimen Repository—which contains frozen plasma, serum, PBMC and PaxGene specimens linked to extensive clinical data—we offer immediate access to large numbers of well characterized samples for translational studies. The Core’s HIV Specimen Bank also provides researchers with a ready infrastructure for collecting and storing specimens for new clinical and pathogenesis studies. Most patient records reflect serial specimen donations (3X/year) with full data linked from electronic medical records, including virologic, immunologic, infectious, genetic, and demographic factors.
In addition, advanced virology services and support offered by the Core allow CFAR investigators to monitor key indicators of HIV pathogenesis, transmission risk, disease progression, drug susceptibility, and post-treatment regression. Core faculty apply the most appropriate methods for preparing specimens and select the best current technology and protocols for quantifying proteins or nucleic acids. Core faculty can assist with design, methods, quality assurance, and data interpretation in clinical studies of AIDS/HIV. They can partner with CFAR researchers to develop novel laboratory methods for determining viral loads in various compartments and correlating these HIV markers with clinical outcomes.
To help researchers incorporate or adapt the latest laboratory tools into their study planning and design, the Core provides training, education, and workshops for CFAR investigators. In their own research, the Core faculty also evaluate new technologies and compare alternative laboratory methods using good clinical laboratory practice methods.