Request for Information (RFI): Strategies for Non-Invasive Imaging of HIV Reservoirs

Notice Number: NOT-DA-16-015

Key Dates
Release Date: March 9, 2016
Response Date: May 6, 2016

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to seek guidance and input from the scientific community regarding available and emerging technology related to HIV persistence and the development of innovative strategies for detecting active and latent HIV in the brain. The information obtained from responses to this RFI will guide the NIH in developing funding initiatives.


Significant achievements have been made in treating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection through antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, but there is currently no cure for the disease. One of the continuing challenges to treating HIV is the ability of the virus to remain hidden in latent reservoirs in the brain and other parts of the body, rendering the infected individual chronically at risk for relapse. To achieve sustained remission of the infection, significant advancements need to be made in characterizing HIV reservoirs and understanding the effect of various therapeutic strategies on their persistence, all of which necessitates the development of improved technology for non-invasively locating and visualizing reservoirs.

The publication of a recent report describing the successful non-invasive imaging of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV; Santangelo et al., 2015), the non-human primate equivalent of HIV, suggests that the aforementioned goal could now be realized in humans.

Information Requested

At this stage, the NIH is exploring avenues through which advancements may be made in detecting active and latent HIV in the human brain, and is seeking guidance on potential approaches to the problem. Areas of particular interest include:

  • Appropriate targets for detecting HIV reservoirs in the brain (e.g., receptors, associated proteins, RNA, DNA)
  • Best model system for validating tools to image latent HIV
  • Necessary first steps in developing non-invasive imaging of HIV targets in humans
  • Existing impediments to development of non-invasive imaging of HIV reservoirs in humans
  • Technology currently available or emerging for engineering tracer molecules
  • Existing lines of work in preclinical models that could be fruitfully extended in humans within a reasonable timeframe
  • Technology that can be readily harnessed for visualizing latently infected cells, and next steps towards realizing this goal
  • Nanotechnology-based strategies for Magnetic Resonance (MR)-, single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT)-, or Positron Emission Tomography (PET)-based imaging of HIV reservoirs
  • Comorbid substance use and its impact on detection of HIV reservoirs in the brain

How to Submit a Response

Responses will be accepted until May 6, 2016, via email to: Please mark your responses with this RFI identifier NOT-DA-16-015. Reponses are expected to be no longer than approximately 2000 words.

Respondents will receive an automated email confirmation acknowledging receipt of their response, but will not receive individualized feedback.

Any identifiers (e.g., names, institutions, e-mail addresses, etc.) will be removed when responses are compiled. Only the processed, anonymized results will be shared internally with NIH program staff and participating IC leadership, as appropriate. Nonetheless, no proprietary, confidential, or sensitive information should be submitted.

This Request for Information (RFI) is for information and planning purposes only, and should not be construed as a solicitation or an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and/or the participating NIH Institutes or Centers. The NIH does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or to otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government's use of such information.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Vani Pariyadath, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-443-3209