Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the Eradication of HIV-1 from CNS Reservoirs: Implications for Therapeutics (R01)

Notice Number: NOT-MH-12-008

Key Dates
Release Date: December 7, 2011

Issued by
National Institute of Mental Health, (


The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) intends to promote a new initiative by publishing a Funding Opportunity Announcement to solicit applications for research on the problem of HIV-1 persistence that is focused solely on the central nervous system (CNS) of HIV-infected persons treated with Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART).  A high priority has been placed on the goal of eradicating HIV-1 from persistent reservoirs in the CNS by the Division of AIDS Research (DAR), at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  The National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC) recently cleared the concept and NIMH intends to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the initiative entitled, “Eradication of HIV-1 from Central Nervous System (CNS) Reservoirs: Implications for Therapeutics.”  Research is needed to target viral reservoirs in the CNS sanctuary because of unique anatomic features in the brain, such as the blood-brain barrier and enclosure within the restricted skull cavity.  One of the challenges for eradication of CNS-specific HIV-1 reservoirs includes developing anti-HIV-1 therapeutics that can traverse the blood-brain barrier.  Another challenge is that eradication strategies directed solely toward the peripheral body may have detrimental effects in the CNS, due to neuronal toxicity of reactivated virus and other inflammatory sequelae.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.

The FOA, which will use the NIH Research Project Grant (R01), is expected to be published in the Spring of 2012 with an expected receipt date in the Fall of 2012.  Details of the planned FOA are provided below. 

Research Initiative Details

This FOA intends to support innovative research in five areas:  (1) basic research to identify and characterize CNS-based cellular reservoirs of HIV-1 for individuals on HAART; (2) basic research to determine the mechanisms involved in the temporal establishment, maintenance, and resurgence of CNS-based HIV-1 reservoirs in relationship to the effects and timing of HAART, viral expression, and viral evolution within the brain; (3) development of physiologically relevant animal models and CNS-based cellular assays that recapitulate HIV-1 persistence and latency in the presence of effective HAART; (4) drug screening of potential agents which traverse the blood-brain barrier and eliminate latent or other sources of residual virus in the CNS; and (5) design of therapeutic strategies aimed at eradication of HIV-1 from the CNS.  Discovery research to define and characterize the sources of HIV-1 persistence in the CNS for people on suppressive anti-retroviral therapy, and translational research to enable therapeutic eradication of HIV-1 from the brain will be fostered.  Applications ranging from basic to translational research in domestic and international settings are of interest.  Multidisciplinary research teams and collaborative alliances are encouraged but not required.



Interested parties may contact:

Jeymohan Joseph, Ph.D.
Division of AIDS Research
National Institute on Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6219, MSC 9619
Bethesda, MD  20892-9619
Telephone: (301) 443-6100

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