September 11, 2017

Dr. Davey Smith and Susanna Concha-Garcia spoke with KPBS about The Last Gift, a new study at the University of California, San Diego, designed to help understand HIV reservoirs. The Last Gift Project works closely with the long-standing California NeuroAIDS Tissue Network (CNTN), which has been enrolling participants for tissue donation studies for almost 20 years. The Last Gift complements the CNTN by doing intensive end of life monitoring to determine where HIV resides when active replication is suppressed. By learning more about where the virus hides, researchers hope to learn how to target these hidden pockets of HIV for eradication; an essential step on the road to finding a cure.

Listen to the KPBS story by David Wagner here.


Once again staff representing the California NeuroAIDS Tissue Network hosted a booth at the San Diego Pride event on July 15, 2017.

San Diego Pride presents a unique opportunity to connect with the community, including many current, former, or future research participants. This event has always been an excellent venue to share information about HIV and discuss our current research projects – while enjoying an exciting celebration of community! Thank you to everyone who participated in our San Diego Pride event, including staff and members of the community, without whom none of this would be possible.


Dr. Cris Achim received a 5-year NIH grant to study a key pathway in the process of macrophage clearance of beta amyloid from the brain.

Beta-amyloid, if it accumulates, can clump together in the brain and block cell-to-cell signaling; a process also implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. There is evidence that pathogenic mechanisms leading to HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy may be associated with accumulation of beta amyloid in the brain of aging long term survivors. Certain antiretroviral drugs have also been associated with damage to blood vessels in the brain; a process which may further limit the ability of brain macrophages to clear beta amyloid before it accumulates.

This new study will validate the diagnostic value of amyloid monitoring in clinical specimens in individuals with increased genetic risk for accumulation of beta amyloid and identify potential therapeutic targets implicated in amyloid clearance.

As in years past the staff of the California NeuroAIDS Tissue Network will host a booth at the San Diego Pride event on July 16 and 17, 2016.  Stop by and say hello!  Have some fun and spin the wheel for a prize (while supplies last).

Robert Bryan has joined the study participant recruiting team at the CNTN. He brings with him extensive experience in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Counseling. Robert has been active in the community serving on multiple committees dealing with a diverse range of issues including The Faith-Based Action Coalition, Recovery Happens San Diego, Project Homeless Connect, and The Association of Community Housing Solutions.  His community service  has contributed to his success in matching participants to our research studies. Besides his professional work ethic and experience, his genuine caring demeanor has already touched the lives of the participants as well as his fellow colleagues.