The widespread use of antiretroviral therapy to suppress the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has helped tens of millions of people with HIV live healthier, longer lives—but an unfortunate consequence of people living longer with HIV is an increased risk of cancer. For 25 years, the AIDS Malignancy Consortium (AMC) has led national and international efforts to prevent and treat HIV-related cancers. Now, Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine have received a 5-year, $111 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to lead this research consortium.
“People living with HIV shoulder an enormous burden of cancer,” said Joseph Sparano, MD, Associate Chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Oncology at Montefiore, Associate Director for Clinical Research at the NCI-designated Albert Einstein Cancer Center, and principal investigator on the grant. “AMC is the only organization worldwide solely dedicated to the study, treatment, and prevention of cancer in this group of people.”
Engaging the Community at Risk
Approximately 38 million people are infected with HIV, including 1.2 million in the United States. People living with HIV have an increased risk of developing cancer compared with the general population and are more likely to die of cancer. To address this need, Montefiore developed an HIV Oncology Service, directed by Luca Paoluzzi, MD, a medical oncologist at Montefiore, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Einstein, and the AMC principal investigator at Montefiore and Einstein. The newly established service brings together Montefiore and Einstein’s experience in patient care and research.
Collaborating with Harris Goldstein, MD, Associate Dean for Scientific Resources, Director of the NIH-funded Einstein-Rockefeller-CUNY Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and Professor of Pediatrics and of Microbiology and Immunology at Einstein, Dr. Sparano has established a scientific working group focused on cancer and HIV that will guide the direction of future collaborative research at the CFAR and AMC. The group will be co-chaired by Dr. Sparano and Howard Strickler, MD, Professor and Chief of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at Einstein and Montefiore. It will identify areas of need, evaluate emerging research, and design new clinical trials that will be rolled out at dozens of locations at Montefiore and around the world.
AMC’s International Network
The AMC oversees a network of 42 clinical trial sites in the United States, Africa, and Latin America, as well as translational scientists who support its clinical trials. It also runs a career enhancement program to ensure that the next generation of leaders receive resources and support. In addition, the AMC actively engages with people living with HIV and cancer throughout the world, so the consortium can identify and address the needs of this community.