Tulane Receives $5 Million to Coordinate Pediatric HIV Research

May 3, 2006

Madeline Vann
Phone: 504-247-1425

Tulane University pediatric infectious disease expert Russell Van Dyke has been awarded $5 million by the National Institute of Child Health and Development to coordinate a five-year, multi-center, national study of the impact of HIV and HIV- prevention strategies on children.

"Use of AZT and other antiviral medications to prevent the transmission of HIV from an infected mother to her baby has cut the transmission rate from 25 percent to less than two percent," says Van Dyke, who has dedicated his career to working with HIV-positive children.

However, Van Dyke and his colleagues want to know if there is a long-term impact on the health of a child from a mother's use of these medications. In addition, they are interested in the long-term health and behavioral impact of growing up and going through adolescence with HIV.

The study will involve two groups of participants. The first consists of HIV-infected children between 7 and 15 years old who acquired their infections prior to or during birth. The objective of the study is to describe the growth and development of children with perinatal HIV as they enter into adolescence and adulthood. The researchers will track neurological, cognitive and academic development as well as behavioral outcomes, physical and sexual maturation, changes in body composition and heart disease risk factors.

The second group consists of infants and children who are not infected with HIV but were born to HIV-infected mothers. The objective of this study is to determine the long-term safety to the child of medicines given to the mother during pregnancy to prevent the transmission of HIV to the child. Van Dyke and a group of leading investigators from around the country are currently developing the exact methodology of the research studies.

In addition, 20 to 25 research centers throughout the country will be chosen to recruit subjects and conduct the research. Study sites will be selected later this year.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000