RDI receives major funding and data from leading HIV centre

BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS becomes first Founding Academic Member

LONDON, UK; 29th April 2003 The HIV Resistance Response Database Initiative (RDI) is to receive major annual funding plus substantial quantities of data from the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. The Centre, situated in Vancouver, Canada and recognised worldwide as a leading site for HIV research and management, has signed-up as a Founding Academic Member of the RDI.

The RDI is collecting clinical data from thousands of HIV patients around the world and using artificial intelligence to define the links between changes in the HIV genetic code and response to combination therapy. The radical new approach could enhance the ability of physicians to choose the most effective drugs for individual patients and overcome the problem of HIV drug resistance.

"The centre made this substantial commitment to the RDI because we believe that the initiative has the potential to deliver substantial clinical benefits and insight into the genetic basis of HIV drug resistance ", commented Professor Julio Montaner, Professor of Medicine and Chair in AIDS Research, at the BC Centre, University of British Columbia, Canada.

The RDI was started in 2001 as a network of leading scientists in the HIV field who shared a common vision for improving the management of HIV drug resistance. The initiative was registered as a not-for-profit organisation at the beginning of 2003. Key to the success of the initiative is the collection of substantial amounts of clinical data, as well as funding. The organisation has developed a comprehensive rage of opportunities for institutions and companies to join the initiative by providing data and/or financial support.

"By joining the RDI now, as a Founding Academic Member, the BC Centre will have a voice in the strategic guidance of the initiative and will reap the benefits of the research for our patients in the quickest timeframe possible", commented Dr Montaner. "I strongly encourage other institutions and companies to join us and help us realise the potential of this initiative as soon as possible".

One of the main reasons why HIV treatment fails is that mutations in the genetic code of HIV cause resistance to HIV drugs. Tests are already available to detect these genetic changes but, because of their variety and complexity, the interpretation of this information remains a major challenge. The RDI database is designed to improve interpretation by relating genetic changes in HIV directly to virological response to drug therapy, using the largest collection of clinical data of its kind in the world. The new approach has the potential to provide accurate predictions of the degree to which individual patients will respond to the many different combinations of drugs available.

"We are absolutely delighted that the BC Centre has stepped up its involvement with the RDI to become a Founding Academic Member", commented Dr Andrew Revell, Chief Executive of the RDI. "It would not be possible to achieve our goals without the support, both financial and data, of the Centre and our other partners."


RDI Limited is registered in the UK as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and with no share capital. The RDI is headquartered in London UK, with research based in Cambridge, UK. Data provided to the RDI does not contain any information relating to patient identity and confidentiality is absolutely assured.

The RDI Scientific Core Group comprises the following scientists and clinicians:

1. Brendan Larder - Cambridge, UK, Chair
2. Victor DeGruttola - Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
3. Richard Harrigan - BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, BC, Canada
4. Julio Montaner - BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, BC, Canada
5. Scott Wegner - US Military HIV/AIDS Program, Washington, DC, USA
6. Maurizio Zazzi - HIV Monitoring Service, University of Siena, Italy

Date published: 29th April 2003


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