CHAARM NEWS

  •  25/07/2014 -  An explanatory video has been produced with the aim of presenting the CHAARM project and its main goal. It explains what are microbicides and it shows why is important to develop alternative prevention methods, such as new combination of microbicides, for controlling the risk of HIV infection.

     
  •  26/03/2014- Fourth CHAARM Consortium meeting in Camogli, Italy
The 4th year CHAARM consortium meeting was held in Camogli, Genova (Italy) the 18th and 19th of March 2013. CHAARM partners shared the results achieved during the last 12 months and discussed the stepts to be taken during this last year of the project 's lifetime. 
As on previous ocassions, Dr. Charles Kelly started the annual meeting by welcoming partners and giving an insight into the meeting's agenda. This was followed by a series of presentation of several researchers working within the different CHAARM Work Packages. The meeting offered an update on microbicides development, challenge studies and biomarker studies, among others. The dissemination strategy, alongside the participation of CHAARM partners in international events and the presence of the project in European media was also discussed. 
All presentations are available in the partners area section of this website, and are available solely for the consortium's internal use. Should you be interested in learning more about CHAARM's development, please read the latest CHAARM Newsletter. Please, do not hesitate to request further information through the CHAARM website, social media or via email. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  • The latest developments of the CHAARM consortium, compiled in the latest CHAARM annual Newsletter

CHAARM has issued its fourth  annual newsletter. It provides a complete overview of the project, as well as updated information on its activities. It also makes a coverage of the events in which CHAARM partners participated, and provides the reader with a calendar of upcoming events that may be of her/his interest. Moreover, the Newsletter includes interviews to key researchers that have been specially active during the course of the year 2013. 

Get to know the latest on CHAARM's development of Microbicides for HIV prevention by clicking here


  • The “HIV prevention research update: what to watch in 2014” webinar launched by NAM and AVAC discussed the likely developments of HIV prevention this year

A number of CHAARM partners attended the Webinar “HIV prevention research update: what to watch in 2014” launched by NAM and AVAC. The aim of the webinar was to train and inform prevention advocates and anyone interested in the newest developments in HIV prevention technology.The webinar took place between 3 pm and 4.30 pm CET, on Thursday the 30th of January, 2014. During that time, Gabrielle Breugelmans (EDCTP) Deborah Baron (FACTS Consortium Manager) Tina Bruun (PARTNER study) and Giulio Maria Corbelli (European AIDS Treatment Group) discussed the likely HIV prevention news in 2014.

Among the topics covered during the webinar stand the presentation of the FACTS project and the PARTNER study. FACTS was established in 2010 to provide clinical evidence for the safety and effectiveness required for licensure of 1% tenofovir gel, after the CAPRISA 004 study showed, for the first time, that a vaginal microbicide may help reduce women’s risk of infection with HIV and HSV-2. The FACTS Consortium is currently conducting a large-scale study designed to test the safety and effectiveness of vaginal tenofovir gel used before and after sex to protect women against HIV and HSV-2. Their research is complemented by social sciences studies, such as adherence surveillance through requesting women to give back the used applicators of the microbicide gel, to write a coital-diary, to participate in interviews, etc.

In turn, the PARTNER studies analyses the risk of transmission of HIV from an HIV positive individual following an antiretroviral therapy to the sexual partner, both through vaginal and anal sex. The first hypothesis under study is that “HIV transmission is very low when an HIV positive partner has an undetectable viral load”. The second hypothesis includes the addition “… independently of the sexual practice”.

EDCTP 2 was also in the spotlight of the webinar. In this respect, Ms Breugelmans explained that in the period 2013-2023 it will be under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme and, for the first time, it will last 10 years. This extended duration will enable researches to cover all the phases of the clinical trials; from I to IV.  The budget will include 648 million EUR of contribution by the European Commission, as well as funding from Member states, public-private cooperation and philanthropic organisations. The EDCTP 2 is expected to start running in May 2014.

To learn more about the webinar click here


  • Paolo Di Gianvincenzo has released his PhD thesis “Exploring gold glyconanoparticles as multivalent carrier for specific molecules involved in HIV-1 infection"

Paolo Di Gianvincenzo works within the CHAARM consortium as a member of the project partner CIC biomaGUNE, from Spain. He has recently released his PhD thesis at the University of the Basque Country with the title “Exploring gold glyconanoparticles as multivalent carrier for specific molecules involved in HIV-1 infection".

The first chapter of his thesis has been already published in a peer reviewed journal, and the third chapter of his scientific work is currently being prepared for another publication focused on nanoparticles with the peptide V3.

This PhD thesis is focused on the use of gold glyconanoparticles to study and intervene in HIV the entry process, where CD4 receptor, CCR5/CXCR4 co-receptors and the viral envelop glycoprotein gp120 are involved.

He prepared and characterizedsulphated gold glyconanoparticles, able to bind positive charged amino acids of gp120. It was demonstrated that these nanoparticles can bind gp120 with high affinity and neutralize the in vitro HIV infection of T-lymphocytes in the nanomolar range.

A miniprotein that mimics the CD4 receptor (miniCD4, from Loic Martin) and inhibits the HIV entry process was multimerized on GNPs (miniCD4-GNPs).HIV-1 neutralization assays did not show improved IC50 values for the miniCD4-GNPs respect to the free miniCD4, probably because the distance between the miniCD4 on the GNPs do not perfectly match the distance between CD4 binding site on HIV Env.

Furthermore, Di Gianvincenzo found that GNPs bearing only glucose and carboxylic ending linkers are able to modulate the conformation of V3 peptide to obtain V3-GNP constructs with α-helix or β-strand conformations.

HIV neutralization experiments showed that V3-GNP were active only at high concentration. However, a preliminary immunization study with V3β-GNP on mice shows that mAb contained in mice sera are able to recognize V3β-GNP. Building on this, he and his team have been working in a more extensive immunization study performed with rabbits. 

To read the full text click here


  • 9/12/2013 Massimiliano Secchi from OSR wins the G.B. Rossi prize 2013 for this paper on means to enhance anti-HIV-1 activity 

Massimiliano Secchi works at Fondazione Centro San Raffaele / Ospedale San Raffaele (OSR), which takes part in the CHAARM consortium.  

Secchi has been awarded with the prestigious G.B. Rossi prize 2013 for the paper "Enhancement of anti-HIV-1 activity by hot spot evolution of RANTES-derived peptides". The paper was jointly developed by Secchi, Renato Longhi, Lia Vassena, Francesca Sironi, Stephan Grzesiek, Paolo Lusso, and Luca Vangelista. This work was impregnated with the OSR team work on CHAARM-related activities.

Massimiliano Secchi received the prize from the Italian association ANLAIDS (Associazione Nazionale per la Lotta contro l'AIDS)  during the XXVI ANLAIDS Conference, held in Florence the 29-30 November 2013.

To read the full article click here


  • 15/11/2013 Developers Test Many Approaches to Prevent HIV

The CHAARM project partners, Professor Sheena McCormack and Professor Charles Kelly, explain the different lines of research in the field of Anti-Retroviral Microbicides carried out to date and its current state of development; i.e. what has been approved, what is in trials, and what might be looked at in the future. Professor McComarck also reflects on how to improve and speed up the development of these substances. Finally, Professor Kelly gives an insight into oral Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.

Click here to read the full article in PDF.

You can also get access to the full version through the Medscape webpage. Please note that registration is free.

 


  • 29/10/2013 HIV Microbicides Require Safety, Efficacy, Good Marketing 

This recently published article, based on an interview with the CHAARM project parner Dr. Janneke van de Wijgert, reflects on the need of balancing efficacy and toxicity in order to design a successful topical microbicide against HIV. The reasons lying behind are both the expected rejection of people to use an unpleasant or irritating product, and the risk of damaging sensitive epithelial barriers to the virus.

Click here to read the full article

You can also get access to the full version through the Medscape webpage. Please note that registration is free.

 


  • 22/10/2013 - Open Info Day: 'Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing' - Brussels, Belgium

Interested to learn how Horizon 2020, the EU's new programme for investment in research and innovation, can support your research and innovation projects? This event will give you essential information on how to develop a good project proposal, take you step by step through the application process, and help you find project partners.

As demand is high and space is limited, seats will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis, taking into account the room capacity of individual sessions.

To ensure the widest possible participation and to give everyone a fair chance to attend we reserve the right to limit the number of participants from the same organisation. If possible, please coordinate and check with your colleagues to keep the number of registrations from your organisation as low as possible.

Up to 20 per cent of the seats will be reserved for the Horizon 2020 'Health' National Contact Points and for participants from the newer EU member states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia).

Download the draft programme and register your interest to participate here

 


  • 17/10/2013 Latest discoveries of the CHAARM consortium on HIV prevention

The CHAARM project held the conference “New HIV Prevention Strategies: Future of Microbicides” on the 16th of October in Brussels. The speakers presented the major finding to date in the field of Anti-Retroviral Microbicides and the development of new products. The possibilities to market microbicides and the prospects of EU funding for HIV biomedical prevention research were also covered during the event. 

Click here to read the full article

 


  • 16/10/2013 CHAARM at EACS Conference 2013  

  

On Wednesday 16 October CHAARM symposium “The Future of Microbicides” successfully opened the 14th edition of the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) Conference in Brussels, Belgium.

During the satellite session CHAARM partners presented the activity conducted in 3.5 years of research and explained what to expect from the project’s remaining 18 months and how the scientific community might build on the results achieved.

For more information and to see the pictures, please go to the CHAARM Events session.

 

 

  • 27/09/2013 Update on CHAARM project partner Università degli Studi di Siena  

    Cristina Tintori from the Dipartimento di Biotecnologie, Chimica e Farmacia, Università degli Studi di Siena (Italy), made an oral presentation entitled "Targeting protein-protein interactions as a promising anti-HIV strategy" at the congress Avogadro Colloquia, Sala Azzurra, Palazzo della Carovana, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa (Italy) September 27 2013.
       


  • 10/09/2013 - 13/09/2013 Update on CHAARM project partner Università degli Studi di Siena 

    Cristina Tintori from the Dipartimento di Biotecnologie, Chimica e Farmacia, Università degli Studi di Siena (Italy), made an oral presentation entitled "Targeting protein-protein interactions as a promising anti-HIV strategy" at the XXII National Meeting on Medicinal Chemistry, Rome, Italy, September 10-13, 2013.

     

    Abstract of the presentation:
    Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are attractive targets for therapeutic intervention because of their crucial roles in several biological processes. Targeting these interactions with small molecule inhibitors is a research area of considerable interest in medicinal chemistry. Recently, a lot of information on PPIs in the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) life cycle has been made available through chemical biology experiments providing many opportunities in the fight against AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).[1] Herein, we report the successful application of computational strategies for the identification of novel HIV inhibitors targeting PPIs. In detail, a structure-based virtual screening approach was applied with the aim of identifying novel HIV-1 entry inhibitors targeting the interaction between CD4 and HIV-1 gp120.[2] As a result, four novel classes of inhibitor emerged that have significant anti-HIV-1 activities in cells. Remarkably, biological investigations supported the hypothesis that these compounds interfere with the binding of gp120 and CD4. Similarly, we successfully combined different computational techniques in order to identify small molecule inhibitors of HIV-1 Integrase (IN) dimerization.[3-4] Two hit compounds were identified which represent the first small molecule IN inhibitors operating through this mechanism of action. 
    On the other hand, computational methodologies were applied to study the effect of compounds targeting an IN allosteric binding site (sucrose’s binding site).[5] A natural compound emerged as a potential IN-stabilizing agent.
     
    References
    [1] Zhan, P, et al. Curr. Med. Chem. 2010, 29, 3393-3409.
    [2] Tintori, C, et al. ChemMedChem. 2013, 3, 475-483.
    [3] Tintori, C, et al. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2012, 22, 3109-3114.
    [4] Demeulemeester, J, et al. J. Biomol. Screen. 2012, 17, 618-628.
    [5] Wielens, J, et al. FEBS Lett. 2010, 584, 1455-1462.
     

 

  • 12/09/2013 CHAARM at the webinar Rectal microbiocides
     

     Thursday 12 September Dr Carolina Herrera, from Imperial College, London, partner of the CHAARM project took part at the webinar Rectal microbiocides, organized by NAM and AVAC.

     
    Dr Herrera presented the two EU funded projects CHAARM and MOTIF, pointing out the objectives of each project. 
    She then focused on CHAARM and explained in details what kind of studies the partners are conducting and the results they have reached so far. She spoke of both the in vitro and the ex vivo models that are used within the project.
     
    Other speakers were Dr Ian McGowan of the University of Pittsburgh, behavioural researcher Dr Alex Carballo-Diéguez of Columbia University and Marc-André LeBlanc of International Rectal Microbiocide Advocates (IRMA). 

 


  • 25/08/2013 - 28/08/2013 Update on CHAARM project  
     CHAARM delegates attended the DPV-DRV combo seminar in Beerse, Belgium.

    Participants gathered to discuss CHAARM contributions to the topic “Dapivirine ring is in Phase III, do we need to plan for a pipeline and is there a role for Darunavir?”


    Partners discussed on microbicides development work and on the DRV molecule and its use for a prevention application. 
    After the presentation of the results of the phase one of the study with the DPV-DVR combo and its in vitro efficacy results, the next steps to take were defined.
     
    The CHAARM delegates who attended the meeting are:
    Robin Shattock from Imperial College
    Charles Lacey from University of York
    Nathalie Bosquet from CEA (Commisariat à l´Energie Atomique)
    Roger Le-Grand CEA (Commisariat à l´Energie Atomique)
    Delphine Desjardins from CEA (Commisariat à l´Energie Atomique)
    Bruce Frank from Particle Sciences
    Mark Mitchnick from Particle Sciences 
    Charles Kelly from King’s College London
    Vicky Jespers from ITG (Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp)
    Guido Vanham from ITG (Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp)
    Kevin Arien from ITG (Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp)
    Karl Malcolm from Queen's University Belfast
    Annaléne Nel from International Partnership For Microbicides

 


  • 25/08/2013 - 28/08/2013 Update on CHAARM project partner Università degli Studi di Siena

    Maurizio Botta, Professor of the "Biotecnologie Chimica e Farmacia" Department from Università degli Studi di Siena, attended the NC symposium 2013 in Montreal and had a lecture entitled "Discovery of HIV-1 NC inhibitors by in silicoapproaches". 

 
 

  • 28/08/2013 - 30/08/2013 - Presentation of poster at the Nobel Biofilm conference, Stockholm , by CHAARM partner ITM

    Liselotte Hardy, from The Institute of Tropical Medicine, is presenting a poster titled: “PNA-FISH for the detection of vaginal Gardnerella vaginalis biofilm” that evaluates a new method to be used in the vaginal microbiome research, to detect biofilms of Gardnerella vaginalis. The method was evaluated making use of vaginal samples from the “Microbicide Safety Biomarkers” study, for which Dr. Vicky Jespers at ITM was the coordinating investigator.

    This interdisciplinary Nobel conference ‘Biofilm formation, its clinical impact and potential treatment’ aims to cover recent progress in the research area of biofilm formation. The conference gathers leading researchers from the pre-clinical and clinical side who collectively cover the broad spectrum of biofilm research from the molecular analysis of basic phenomena over the clinical impact to approaches to prevent biofilm formation. The conference provides a forum to stimulate the exchange of ideas and cross-disciplinary discussion to find novel ways to treat infections caused by biofilm-forming bacteria in order to promote research progress on this important health problem. The conference reports on important fundamental discoveries made in the biofilm research area and describes the impact of biofilm formation on treatment failure, the resistance phenotype of biofilm forming cells, the interaction of biofilm bacteria with the immune system, bioinformatics of biofilm formation and applications of biofilm bacteria leading to health benefit. In addition, various strategies to treat biofilm infections will be discussed.


    http://biofilmnobelconference.org/

 


  • 25/07/2013 - CHAARM Satellite Session at EACS Brussels - Wednesday 16 October 2013 from 11.30 to 13.00
New HIV Prevention Strategies: the Future of Microbicides
The Future of Microbicides takes place on the first day of the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) conference this October in Brussels. Organised by EATG, the European AIDS Treatment Group, in partnership with the CHAARM, the EU-funded Combined Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Microbicides research consortium, this special symposium will focus on current European research and discoveries in the field of topical microbicides – gels, films, rings and other devices that can be used to prevent HIV transmission during vaginal or anal sex.
 
The session, on Wednesday16 October between 11:30 and 13:00, features:
Alessandra Martini, European Commission, scientific officer of CHAARM,
Harriet Langanke, German Sexuality and Health Foundation (GSSG)
Sheena McCormack, UK Medical Research Centre Clinical Trials Unit
Janneke van de Wijgert, Liverpool University
Guido Vanham, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp.
It will be chaired by Gus Cairns from EATG.
 
Have a look at the Press Release

 

 



  • 14/07/2013 - 17/07/2013 - Presentation of CHAARM poster at the STI & AIDS World Congress, by CHAARM partner ITM

    The STI & AIDS World Congress 2013 is taking place in Vienna, from July 14 to 17, 2013. This year, it will be held as a joint meeting of the 20th Meeting of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research (ISSTDR), and the 14th World Congress of the International Union against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI).
    The conference will see the participation of Liselotte Hardy from the Insitute of Tropical Medicine, Public Health department, ITM HIV/AIDS Centre (IHAC) who will present a poster, together with other authors on Monday and Tuesday from 18 to 19 pm. The poster remains available during all days of the Congress. 
     

The poster title is: Bacterial species in the vaginal microbiome correlated by Nugent score: cross-sectional data from the Microbicide Safety Biomarkers Studyin Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa. The researchers quoted are: L. Hardy-1, V. Jespers-1, J. Menten-1, R. Verhelst-2, M. Mwaura-3, S. Delany-Moretlwe-4, G. Ndayisaba-5, P. Cools-2, J. van de Wijgert-6,5, T. Crucitti-1

1 Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium,2 University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium,3 International Center for Reproductive Health, Mombasa, Kenya,4 Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, Johannesburg, South Africa,5 Rinda Ubuzima, Kigali, Rwanda, 6 University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

 

The poster presents cross-sectional data from the Biomarker cohort and it is based on a study done in the framework of the EU project, CHAARM, and it is in comparison with data collected through the recently ended EU project EMPRO, and other data collected in Tanzania.

The Microbicide Safety Biomarkers Study is a prospective cohort study of sexually active, 110 non-pregnant women, 30 adolescents and 30 pregnant women in Kenya and South-Africa, 30 women engaging in vaginal practices in South-Africa and 30 high-risk and 30 HIV-positive women in Rwanda.

Reproductive tract infections and biomarkers of the vaginal microbiome and inflammation were studied.

 

  • 28/05 - 01/06/2013 - Update on CHAARM project partner Institute of Tropical medicine Antwerpen 

Jordan Kyongo Karanja from the Biomedical department, who is member of the Biomarker study (Principal Investigator of which is Vicky Jespers from DPH) received an ESRI Young Investigator Award by the European Society of Reproductive Immunology  for his article:  "Identifying biomarkers of increased HIV transmission in African populations".

Other contributors to the article were: Liselotte Hardy, An Buvé and Vicky Jespers. Congratulations! 

This award is sponsored by the Journal for Reproductive Immunology (Elsevier).

 


  • 28/05/2013 - Speakers confirmed for the 14th European AIDS Clinical Society conference 2013, Brussels (Belgium) 

Here are more details regarding CHAARM participation in the  European AIDS Clinical Society conference 2013 that will be held in Brussels between 11.30 and 13.30 on Wednesday the 16th of October on “New HIV preventive Strategies: the future of microbicides”. 

The session will be chaired by Gus Cairns (NAM/EATG) and will be endorsed by Harriet Langanke (German Sexuality and Health Foundation - GSSG), Alessandra Martini (European Commission), Sheena McCormack (The Medical Research Centre Clinical Trials Unit), Janneke van de Wijgert (Liverpool University), and Guido Vanham (Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp).

 


  • 24/04/2013 - CHAARM project will be at the 14th European AIDS Clinical Society conference 2013, Brussels (Belgium)

CHAARM project has been allocated a slot of 2h at the EACS Symposium session between 11.30 and 13.30 on Wednesday the 16th of October on “New HIV preventive Strategies: the future of microbicides”. 

The symposium will present and discuss 3.5 years of research activity and discovery in the CHAARM research consortium, and will lay out what to expect from the remaining 18 months of CHAARM, during which many research lines will come to fruition. It will discuss how the research community might build on CHAARM’s discoveries in the future, and the best model of future funding of HIV biomedical prevention research.
The session will be chaired by Gus Cairns (NAM/EATG).
 
 

  • 27/03/2013 - CHAARM project has been accepted at the 14th European AIDS Clinical Society conference 2013, Brussels (Belgium)
CHAARM project, through the support of EATG, applied for a presentation at the 14th European AIDS Conference and has been accepted to present at the EACS Symposium.
 


  • 21/03/2013 - Third CHAARM Consortium meeting in Camogli, Italy

The 4th year CHAARM consortium meeting was held in Camogli, Genova (Italy) from the 19th to 20th March 2013. CHAARM partners shared the results achieved during the last 12 months and discussed about the development of the project.

Charles Kelly started this year annual CHAARM meeting with a welcoming overview and he was followed by the presentation of several researchers working in specific research activities of the project. The meeting was dedicated to presentations regarding updates on selected Microbicides for challenge experiments and combinations of microbicides. CHAARM partners also shared presentations regarding updates on microbicides development and biomarker studies among others. 

All presentations are available in the partners area section and are only for consortium internal use. The partners are available for further information upon request and welcome interested parties to do that through the CHAARM website, social media or via email. 

                       

               

                  


  • 21/03/2013 - ADITEC project presented during CHAARM meeting

    On the first day of CHAARM meeting, the partners welcomed Donata Medaglini, member of the CHAARM Advisory Board, from Sclavo Vaccines Association and University of Siena, who gave a presentation on the ADITEC project, a large european collaborative project funded unther the FP7 who's main goal is to produce the necessary knowledge to develop new and powerful inmunization technologies for the next generation of human vaccines.


  • 26/02/2013 - Webinar Microbicides research in Europe and beyond

Dr. Charles Kelly, CHAARM project coordinator participates with a presentation in the webinar “Microbicides research in Europe and beyond” hosted jointly by NAM and AVAC, 26 th February, 2013. This 90-minute webinar examines the current state of research into topical microbicides – gels, lubes and devices that can be used to prevent HIV transmission during sex. It provides advocates with an overview of global and European topical microbicide research. The presentations are followed by a question and answer session with our expert speakers. The webinar is conducted in English.

More information: Microbicides-research-free-webinar


  • 22/02/2013 - Update from CHAARM project partner 

 During the last months the group lead by Carolina Herrera from the Imperial College London has been exploring the potential of combining drugs inhibiting different stages of the viral replication cycle as a strategy to design efficient microbicides.

 

After obtaining encouraging results with double combinations of reverse transcriptase inhibitors (RTI) and protease inhibitors (PI), they are assessing the potential of entry inhibitor (EI) and RTI double combinations.

Two entry inhibitors, M48U1 and 5P12-RANTES, have been chosen taking into account one of the objectives of CHAARM aiming to test newly developed drugs by members of the consortium. The entry inhibitors are combined with a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), tenofovir (PMPA) or a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), dapivirine (TMC120). These combinations are then tested in cellular and tissular models.

All combinations tested up to date are giving encouraging results in terms of efficacy of the combination of drugs, these ones being more active than the individual drugs tested on their own. Interestingly, researchers are also seeing differences between the different models used to test the inhibitory activity, emphasizing the importance of each model in pre-clinical studies to assess the potential efficacy of candidate microbicides. 


  • 18/02/2012 The third issue of the annual CHAARM newsletter is now available here


  • 14/02/2013 - Medline interview:  CHAARM project partner, Luca Vangelista, from Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy 

NEW DISCOVERY ON THE WAY TO THE PREVENTION - Scientists at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, working on anti-HIV microbicides, have produced some peptides able to block the entry of virus into cells. The study was recently published in Chemistry & Biology.

Luca Vangelista, coordinator of the study at the Ospedale San Raffaele, wasinterviewed by Medline.tv to explain  the significance of this research.



  • 15/01/2013 La Ricerca, HIV ecco i peptidi che lo bloccano, La Repubblica
    Pubblicato su Chemistry & Biology lo studio dell'équipe del San Raffaele di Milano, coordinato da Luca Vangelista. La ricerca ha evidenziato lo sviluppo di una classe di peptidi in grado di bloccare l'accesso del virus Hiv nelle cellule, importante scoperta per una futura prevenzione.

  • 21/12/2012 - Cell PRESS, Chemistry & Biology - Article published: "Enhancement of Anti-HIV-1 Activity, Hot Spot Evolution of RANTES-Derived Peptides"
    Massimiliano Secchi, Renato Longhi, Lia Vassena, Francesca Sironi, Stephan Grzesiek, Paolo Lusso, and Luca Vangelista.

    CCR5, the major HIV-1 coreceptor, is a primary target for HIV-1 entry inhibition strategies. CCL5/RANTES, a natural CCR5 ligand, is one of the most potent HIV-1 entry inhibitors and, therefore, an ideal candidate to derive HIV-1 blockers. Peptides spanning the RANTES N-loop/β1-strand region act as specific CCR5 antagonists, with their hydrophobic N- and C termini playing a crucial role in virus blockade. Here, hydrophobic surfaces were enhanced by tryptophan substitution of aromatic residues, highlighting position 27 as a critical hot spot for HIV-1 blockade. In a further molecular evolution step, C-terminal engraftment of RANTES 40′ loop produced a peptide with the highest solubility and anti-HIV-1 activity. These modified peptides represent leads for the development of effective HIV-1 inhibitors and microbicides.

     Chemistry 

& Biology   -   ScienceDirect.com 


  • 20/12/2012 - NEWS published on ANSASviluppate molecole che bloccano HIV  
    (ANSA) - MILANO, 20 DIC - I ricercatori dell'ospedale San Raffaele di Milano hanno sviluppato in laboratorio delle molecole, precisamente dei peptidi, in grado di bloccare l'accesso del virus hiv nelle cellule, e che potrebbero diventare futuri candidati per lo sviluppo di nuovi microbicidi in grado di agire sulle mucose, bloccando il virus prima che possa infettare l'organismo. Lo studio, coordinato da Luca Vangelista, e' pubblicato sulla rivista 'Chemistry & Biology'.
     

Ironically, a microbicide gel that is highly effective in blocking infection by HIV in a non-human primate model, could be the key to lasting protection from the virus which causes AIDS, a new study has revealed.
In a paper published in the PLOS Pathogens – an open access journal – Dereuddre-Bosquet and other colleagues from the European Combined Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Microbicides (CHAARM) consortium describe the gel’s key ingredient, which are small peptides engineered to present a decoy to bind up the virus and prevent it from entering and infecting the cells of the body. Because this is a gel it can be topically applied and could represent a powerful preventative agent against sexual transmission of HIV. 
 

  • 06/09/2012 - Update on CHAARM project partner CSIR - Council for Scientific and Industrial Research 

CSIR student awarded for best research paper

Kedibone Mawela, a PhD plant biotechnology student at CSIR working on the CHAARM project, was awarded for the top research paper during the 15th Indigenous Plant Use Forum Conference held from 2-5 July 2012 at University of Venda in Thohoyandou, South Africa.

This is a well-established national research meeting which takes place annually and seeks to address all aspects of plant use such as medicinal application, food and beverage, cosmetics, biotechnology and agriculture. The national conference provides invaluable insight on the advances made on the scientific, technological, environmental, economic and commercial aspects of novel products from indigenous plant resources.

Mawela’s research work is directed at the use of plants for the production of pharmaceutical products. The title of her oral presentation was ‘Evaluation of 5P12-RANTES analogue expression in Nicotiana benthamiana’. This presentation was done under the theme ‘Biological Activity’ which consisted of five presentations wherein each student was allocated about 15 minutes to share their findings.

“The session was well attended and judging from the number of questions I had to respond to, there was a lot of interest on my paper. Also during later discussions it came out that although microbicides research had been a success at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, very few people, if any had looked at the ‘diversity’ of such microbicides,” said Mawela.

“Big thanks to the EU FP7 CH

AARM Project together with the Department of Science and Technology of South Africa, CSIR Biosciences/Protein Technologies Platform  for their financial contribution and the University of Pretoria the academic home which made it possible for me to benefit from such experience,” said Mawela.

“All in all the conference was worthwhile and in this instance I was able to achieve my objectives as I gained an overview of different aspects of new methods and applications of pharmaceutical products, and also had useful discussion with key researchers in the area, making a few useful contacts along the way,” concluded Mawela.

“There is no doubt that new and novel technologies are still needed to fight the AIDS pandemic, and this project aims to both train our scientists as well as continue for the search of the elusive solution” say Dr Ereck Chakauya, who is the co-supervisor of Kedibone.


Caption: Professor Ben-Erik van Wyk from the University of Johannesburg awards Kedibone Mawela the 1st prize for the best research paper presented in the conference.


  • 06/09/2012 - Update on CHAARM project partner: Karolinska Institutet 

The next abstract for the 8th Annual Meeting of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society (OTS) meeting in October 28 – 31, 2012 has been accepted for poster presentation.
Optimization of bis-locked nucleic acid (bisLNA) oligonucleotides for efficient invasion of duplex DNA
Author(s): Sylvain Geny, Pedro Moreno, Eman Zaghloul, Vladimir Pabon, Helen Berquist, Cristina Rocha, Rula Zain, Karin Lundin, Jesper Wengel, Edvard Smith


  • 28/08/2012 - Update on CHAARM project partner research activities: Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) of Antwerp

 

The vaginal microbiome plays an important role in urogenital health. Quantitative real time Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) assays for the most prevalent vaginal Lactobacillus species and bacterial vaginosis species G. vaginalis and A. vaginae exist, but qPCR information regarding variation over time is still very limited. The ITM set up qPCR assays for a selection of seven species and defined the temporal variation over three menstrual cycles in a healthy Caucasian population with a normal Nugent score. They also explored differences in qPCR data between these healthy women and an ‘at risk’ clinic population of Caucasian, African and Asian women with and without bacterial vaginosis (BV), as defined by the Nugent score.

Have a look at the complete qPCR microbiome article here.


  • 22-27/07/2012 - 19th International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2012 - Washington, D.C, USA 

    This conference brings people working in the HIV field together with policymakers, individuals living with HIV, and anyone else working to end the epidemic. Expected to draw over 20,000 attendees from almost 200 countries, the event encourages dialogue, shared knowledge, and the presentation of new discoveries.

  • http://www.aids2012.org
     

CHAARM partners also participate at the 19th International AIDS Conference:


The “Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid” presents four posters

The “Katholieke University Louvain” presents two posters


 


  • 19/06/2012 – CHAARM partner, Università degli Studi di Siena, participating in the EAMHC 2012 - Istanbul 

    In the framework of the 7th Eurasian Meeting on Heterocyclic Chemistry taking place in Istanbul from the 15-17 June, also the CHAARM partner “Università degli studi di Siena” presents their latest research activities. This event highlights the importance of heterocyclic chemistry not only in industry but also in academia. The accepted abstract by Maurizio Botta, Dept. Of Pharmaceutical and Applied Chemistry, shows studies on the inhibition of HIV-1 Integrase. The HIV-1 integrase (IN) represents an interesting target for the development of new drugs against AIDS. The University of Siena successfully combined different computational techniques in order to identify small molecule inhibitors of IN dimerization and in such a way the CHAARM partner was able to reduce the association of the two IN monomers at micromolar concentration.

    Have a look at the accepted abstract here.


  • 07/06/2012 - Workshop for CHAARM PhD students and postdocs 
    The CHAARM partner King’s College London – Department of Oral Immunology, is organizing a workshop for PhD students and Postdocs as part of the work package 13. This training will be held from Monday 22nd October 2012 to Thursday 25th October 2012 at the Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique, just outside Paris. The workshop will cover subjects such as Epidemiological aspects of HIV transmission, Virology of sexual HIV transmission and the Development of Microbicides. During the final days, there will be group exercises so as to prepare a presentation. 

    This workshop is open to CHAARM PhD students and Postdocs only!
    Have a look at the programme of this training.


  • 12/06/2012 - Update on CHAARM project partner research activities: University of Siena

    Also the laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology (LAMMB) at the Department of Molecular Biology of the University of Siena participates in various events.

    Have a look at their research activities and events attended.


  • 02/06/2012 - Update on CHAARM project partner research activities: Instituto de Salud Carlos III

    The CHAARM partner “Instituto de Salud Carlos III” from the Ministry of Health, is developing cellular models of HIVinfection and producing specific viral constructs for the evaluation of microbicides. Under the lead of Prof. Alcami, they have been presenting their research activities at various events related to VIH, such as the XVI Congreso de la Sociedad Española de Enfermedades - Infecciosas y Microbiología Clínica (SEIMC) in Bilbao (ES) in May 2012 with the title: El desarrollo de la vacuna frente al VIH. This research group is also present at the International AIDS Conference taking place in Washington (USA) from the 22-27 July 2012.

    Have a look at the publications and results achieved by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III here.


  • 09/05/2012 - Update on CHAARM project partner research activities: BIOZENTRUM of the University Basel

The Biozentrum, a department of the University of Basel and CHAARM project partner under the lead of Stephen Grzesiek has been participating in various events worldwide in order to show their research activities on NMR detection, quantification of protein and nucleic acid hydrogen bonds and molecular geometries.

 

Below the list of the publications by the Biozentrum of the University Basel:

1. Monocytes contribute to differential immune pressure on R5 versus X4 HIV through the adipocytokine visfatin/NAMPT.
    - Research article: Van den Bergh, R., Morin, S., Sass, H.-J., Grzesiek, S., Vekemans, M., Florence, E., Thanh Thi Tran, H., Imiru, R. G., Heyndrickx, L., Vanham, G., De Baetselier, P., Raes, G.
    - Collaboration with the group of Guido Vanham.
    - April 2012, PLoS One, 7: e35074

2. Micro-combat contre le VIH
    - Décou

vrir - Les enjeux du savoir
    - Vulgarisation article: Morin, S. (in French)
    - Dezember 2011 (www.acfas.ca/publications/decouvrir/2011/12/micro-combat-contre-vih)
Have a look at the events attended by the Biozentrum!


  • 07-08/05/2012 CHAARM partner, The Faculty of Medicine of the KU Leuven took part at the IBelgian Forum of Pharmaceutical sciences - Blankenberge (BE)  
    The Faculty of Medicine of the KU Leuven, including the Department of Microbiology and Immunology participates in the Belgian Forum of Pharmaceutical sciences - Blankenberge (BE) with an oral presentation by Carolien Grammen.

 


  • 17/04/2012 - CHAARM took part at the International Microbicides Conference 2012 in Sydney 

    The Microbicide 2012 took place in Sydney, Australia, from the 15th to the 18th of April, under the theme of “From discovery to delivery”. It gives place to the exposure of microbicide research projects.

    After the International Microbicides Conference 2010 in Pittsburgh, USA, the three day long conference in Sydney, allowed CHAARM partners once more to present their research activities, broadening the visibility of the collaborative venture, provoke interest and allowing partners to discuss about their research activities as well as new ideas and examine the state of the field. 

    The following CHAARM partners took part in the M2012:

•  Dr. Ronald Veazey, Tulane National Primate Research centre, New Orleans, USA

•  Katrijn Grupping, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
•  Gilles Ndayisaba: Projet Ubuzima, Kigali, Rwanda
•  Vicky Jespers, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
•  Jordan K. Kyongo, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
•  Carolina Herrera, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
•  Karine Dubé, FHI 360, North Carolina, USA
•  José das Neves, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
•  Muthusamy Venkatraj, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
•  Evelyne Kestelyn: Projet Ubuzima, Kigali, Rwanda; Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development
•  Ivete Meque, Catholic University of Mozambique, Beira, Mozambique
•  Kevin Arien, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
•  Philippe Selhorst, I

nstitute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
•  Massimiliano Secchi, Fondazione San Raffaele, Milano, Italy
•  Luca Vangelista, Fondazione San Raffaele, Milano, Italy
•  Carolien Grammen, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

The scientific committee included some of CHAARM project partners, such as Professor Robin Shattock (St George’s, University of London), Dr. Vicky Jespers (Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerpen) and Prof. Charles Lacey (Hull York Medical School York). This gave CHAARM project the chance to catch the attention of the research community attending the conference and increase its perceptibility at international level as well as sharing ideas and developing potential collaborations with other researchers in the field.
Since the last edition of the International Microbicides Conference in Pittsburgh in 2010, a large number of research experiments such as topical microbicides or oral pre-exposure prophylaxis, HIV prevention showed to be a dynamic issue.

For the CHAARM project, it is important to present the successful research results achieved. Bringing together on one hand researchers, universities and on the other industry’s top scientists and other public and private organizations, makes the EU-funded project an opportunity to show findings and research key results in the HIV prevention field.

Have a look at the CHAARM programme leaflet. 


  • 21/03/2012 - Second CHAARM Consortium meeting in Camogli, Italy
    The 2nd year CHAARM consortium meeting was held from the 20th to 21st March 2012. Just like in the previous year, the meeting took place in Camogli, Genova (Italy) at the Cenobio dei Dogi Hotel. This year, around 60 partners attended the annual CHAARM meeting to discuss the general development of the project and share the achieved results during the last 12 months.

    The CHAARM consortium meeting 2012 started with a welcoming overview given by Charles Kelly, who was followed by the presentation of several researchers working in specific research activities of the project. The morning was dedicated to presentations regarding updates on ARV microbicides candidates and Microbicides combinations. After the lunch break, CHAARM partners shared presentations regarding CCR5 Inhibitors and Peptide/protein-based microbicides.

    The discussions after each presentation gave the attendees the possibility to share comments and ask questions to the researcher in order to share the difficulties and discuss about common solutions. Through the presentation is clear that the project reached an important number of good intermediary results and all partners agreed that important steps have been achieved and these could lead to important developments in the next phase. The overall meeting has been very successful and useful in terms of sharing the knowledge among the various working groups and thus facilitating the preparation of the upcoming year.

    All presentations are available in the partners area section and are only for consortium internal use. The partners are available for further information upon request and welcome interested parties to do that through the online forum on CHAARM website or social media or via email. 

 

 



  • 16/11/2011 PICTURES of EACS satellite event "Advances in HIV biomedical prevention research: Why involving the Community is key" are now available HERE

  • 20/10/2011 PRESENTATIONS NOW AVAILABLE
    Presentations of speakers at the EACS satellite event "Advances in HIV biomedical prevention research: Why involving the Community is key", Belgrade are NOW AVAILABLE on CHAARM events page

  • 13/10/2011 CHAARM project successfully participated to the EACS satellite event  "Advances in HIV biomedical prevention research: Why involving the Community is key".
    Press release, presentations and pictures will be soon available on CHAARM website.

  • 12/09/2011 ESOF2012 Career Programme Call. Submit your ideas.
    The Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF 2012), Europe’s largest multi-disciplinary scientific conference, invites young researchers to get involved in its Careers Programme.
    The Careers Programme will be a major aspect of the Forum, which will take place from 11th to 15th July 2012 in Dublin. It will showcase the spectrum of career opportunities available for researchers at all stages of their career and researchers can directly contribute to the programme track by submitting proposals. The focus is the diversity of careers for researchers, including health research, and the challenges in the current climate.
    Submission deadline is the 15th September 2011
    For more information visit www.esof2012.org

  • 08/2011 - CHAARM project will be at EACS
    CHAARM partners are working on the preparation of the programme for their participation at the EACS event in Belgrade. CHAARM project has been allocated a slot of 1h30, from 9.30 to 11 on Wednesday, 12th October 2011. The satellite event will evolve around the ways affected communities can be involved in the design,promotion and implementation of studies of new prevention methods. The latest programme is available online.

  • 07/2011 - CHAARM project organising for a Satellite Session at EACS
    The satellite session proposed at EACS to present CHAARM project has been accepted and this will be the 1st of 4 CHAARM workhops, to be organised in the next years.

  • 06/2011 - CHAARM project aims at EACS
    The CHAARM project, through the support of EATG, applied for a satellite event at the 13th European AIDS Conference/EACS

  • 05/2011 - CHAARM research advances presentated in peer reviews
    The CHAARM partner, Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Madrid, represented by Mr. Jose Alcami MD, has published articles about the CHAARM advances in different peer reviews between June 2010 and April 2011 on Current HIV Research, AIDS Review, European Infectious Disease and Antiviral Research.
    Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Madrid, Dr. Alcamí's team, is currently working in the generation of recombinant viruses carrying the envelope from patients. 

  • 04/2011 – CHAARM partners updates: Planning phase I trails at the University of York
    The transfer of materials between Particle Sciences, International Partnerships for Microbicides and Tibotec is in place and the University of York is currently working on the schedule of responsibilities for the proposed phase 1 trials.
    Phase 1 logistics have been discussed and the first trials taking place at the University of York site are currently estimated to be starting in May 2012.

  • 04/2011 - The FASEB Journal publishes an article from CHAARM partner Fondazione San Raffaele: Vol 25, April 2011 Molecular engineering of RANTES peptide mimetics with potent anti-HIV-1 activity 
    Authors: Paolo Lusso, Luca Vangelista, Raffaello Cimbro, Massimiliano Secchi, Francesca Sironi, Renato Longhi, Marina Faiella, Ornella Maglio, and Vincenzo Pavone. 
    New research in the FASEB Journal suggests that a rationally designed HIV inhibitor could be used as basis for the development of effective new drugs to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS infection.


  • 15/03/2011 - CHAARM Consortium meeting in Camogli, Italy  

    The 1st year CHAARM consortium meeting was held on the 15-16-17th of March 2011 in the beautiful location of Camogli, Genova (Italy) at the Cenobio dei Dogi Hotel. The meeting gathered around 70 researchers involved in CHAARM project and it represented an important moment in the framework of the project to discuss and share all together the studies carried out in these 12 months activity and the first results achieved after the initial tests phase.

    CHAARM consortium can be really considered as an international one: not only partners’ organisation are located in different countries in Europe and outside, including Belgium, UK, Italy, France, Sweden, Spain, The Netherlands, Ukraine, South Africa, USA; but a number of partners’ researchers and PhD students or post docs are originally from China, India, Iran, Africa and Canada. This confirms the transnational character of the project and the importance that CHAARM initiative is raising worldwide.

    The meeting started with an overview of the project coordinator, Prof. Charles Kelly, and then was opened with a presentation of Mr. Ronald Veazey, from the Tulane National Primate Research centre, Division of Comparative pathology Louisiana, Convington. After that, each partner gave a brief overview of the work carried out and highlighted the first results of the studies.

    After each presentation there was time for questions and the discussions were very constructive to understand and facilitate the preparation of the next year activity. 
    All presentations are available in the partners area section and are only for consortium internal use. 
    The partners are available for further information upon request and welcome interested parties to do that through the online forum on Chaarm website or via email.

 

 


  • 17/03/2011 - Project partners and Steering Committee meeting decided to be held on the 17th of March in Camogli, Italy 
    The 2nd year project meeting is organized in Camogli from the 15th until the 17th of March. All partners of CHAARM project will attend the meeting as well as PhD students and postdocs researchers involved in this project phase.
    The three days seminar raises last advances of the project in terms of clinical studies like CAPRISA results, preclinical development in the field of microproteins and VHH fusion inhibitors, the efficacy and safe testing of microbicides candidates. It is also an occasion for all partners to meet again after the kick-off meeting held last year in Rome and to discuss about all the work carried out in this first year and future initiatives dealing with the dissemination of the Chaarm project.

    In the same occasion, the CHAARM Steering Committee meets again for an update on the 15th of March in Camogli, Italy.
    The members of the Steering Committee tackle the approval of changes to work package 8 such as the inclusion of the screening of activity against HSV-2.
    The agenda includes as well the preparation for Phase I Clinical Trial, formulation, sites of trial and sponsorship; the discussion about forthcomings venues and meetings of the CHAARM consortium and the organization of trainings and workshops for PhD students.


  • 02/2011 - CHAARM project presented in Boston 
    The CHAARM partner, Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Madrid, represented by Mr. Jose Alcami MD, had the chance to inform about the project at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, held in San Francisco from February 27 through March 2, 2011.

  • 01/2011 - Development of combination of ARV microbicides 
    In the light of the results of Caprisa 004 study, which has being conducted to establish whether the vaginal use of tenofovir gel is safe and whether it can prevent sexual transmission of HIV, The University of York, has liaised with other CHAARM project partners including Kings College London, St. George University London, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Particle Sciences and Tibotec during the first year of the project to plan the formulation development of combination of ARV microbicides for clinical studies.

  • 12/2010 - CHAARM project launches its first Newsletter 

CHAARM project partners are glad to announce the release of the first issue of the CHAARM project Newsletter.

Visit the dedicated page on our website.


  • 10/2010 CHAARM researchers explain the challenges and first advances of the project 
    Several scientists involved in the project and the Head of the Unit Health Directorate, DG Research, at the European Commission, Ms Alessandra Martini, were interviewed to have an first approach about the main purpose of the Chaarm project, the importance of microbicides in the HIV researching and the advances reached so far.  

    The partners involved in these articles are: Anna Lena Spetz (Center for Infectious Medicine - Karolinska Institutet), Oliver Hartley (University of Genève), Mark Mitchnick (Particle Sciences), Robin Shattock (St. George's, University of London) and Georgina Morris (University of York).

    Two articles were produced, The relentless effort to curtail the HIV pandemic continues as researchers aggressively investigate alternative prevention tools, a technical focused in the scientific issues, and Microbicides: A promising strategy to reduce HIV infection, addressed to the overall public.

    The relentless effort to curtail the HIV pandemic continues as researchers aggressively investigate alternative prevention tools

    Microbicides: A promising strategy to reduce HIV infection


  • 07/2010 - CHAARM partners present the research advances in seminars 
    The CHAARM partner, Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Madrid, represented by Mr. Jose Alcami MD, had the chance to inform about the project at the Symposium on HIV Reservoirs and Eradication Strategies, organised in the framework of the XVIII International AIDS Conference held in Vienna in July 2010.

 


  • 09/06/2010 - CHAARM well represented at Microbicide 2010 Conference 

The Microbicide 2010 conference held in Pittsburgh, PA, concluded as a ground-breaking commencement for advancing microbicide research and increasing exposure of microbicide research projects.

Highlighted speakers from the CHAARM project included world renowned researcher Dr. Robin Shattock, Professor of Cellular and Molecular infection at St George’s Hospital Medical School in London, UK, who spoke in depth about anti-retroviral treatment in HIV prevention, by focusing on the current state of microbicide research, the role they play in prevention and the intensifying need for them.

Shattock said that they are at a “critical time point” in microbicide research partially because next generation products are ready to be tested in the field, which puts the field in a vulnerable position to prove efficacy in the future trials. However, the most compelling reason is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain funding due to the global economic recession which forces researches to be meticulously selective as far as what they can afford to move forward and which has the best chance of seeing efficacy in the trials.

It is because of these reasons that there is a sense of urgency behind the CHAARM project to provide successful results in their research and testing in the microbicide field. By uniting some of the industry’s top scientists, researchers, universities and other renowned public and private organizations, this large scale EU-funded collaborative venture provides an opportunity to propel discoveries and solutions in the HIV prevention field.

CHAARM was brought to the forefront of the Microbicide 2010 event when a featured presentation spotlighting the activities of CHAARM was given by Professor Charles Lacey, from the University of York, Hull Medical School, UK.  He gave an efficient overview of the project and the specified objectives that the partners hope to achieve; conclusively capturing the crucial role each partner plays in the research project.

The three day long conference allowed CHAARM partners to present their research in the project and lead topics that have never been publicly discussed in such a broad context before. It was officially the first major international presentation for the project; consequently, provoking interest from others in the industry and allowing the partners to discuss new ideas, establish new contacts and openly examine the state of the field. 

After the International Microbicides Conference 2010 in Pittsburgh, USA, the three day long conference in Sydney, allowed CHAARM partners once more to present their research activities, broadening the visibility of the collaborative venture, provoke interest and allowing partners to discuss about their research activities as well as new ideas and examine the state of the field.

The following CHAARM partners take part in the M2012:

• Dr. Ronald Veazey, Tulane National Primate Research centre, New Orleans, USA
• Katrijn Grupping, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
• Gilles Ndayisaba: P

rojet Ubuzima, Kigali, Rwanda
• Vicky Jespers, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
• Jordan K. Kyongo, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
• Carolina Herrera, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
• Karine Dubé, FHI 360, North Carolina, USA
• José das Neves, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
• Muthusamy Venkatraj, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
• Evelyne Kestelyn: Projet Ubuzima, Kigali, Rwanda; Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development
• Ivete Meque, Catholic University of Mozambique, Beira, Mozambique
• Kevin Arien, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
• Philippe Selhorst, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
• Massimiliano Secchi, Fondazione San Raffaele, Milano, Italy
• Luca Vangelista, Fondazione San Raffaele, Milano, Italy
• Carolien Grammen, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

For the CHAARM project, it is important to present the successful research results achieved. Bringing together on one hand researchers, universities and on the other industry’s top scientists and other public and private organizations, makes the EU-funded project an opportunity to show findings and research key results in the HIV prevention field.
 


  • 02/2010 - CHAARM project presented in San Francisco  
    The CHAARM partner, Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Madrid, represented by Mr. Jose Alcami MD, had the chance to inform about the project at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, in San Francisco from February 16th to February 19th, 2010.

  • 18/02
  • /2010 CHAARM off to a good start 

    The project CHAARM was officially launched last week in Rome with an introduction and congratulatory speech made by the European Commission Scientific officer Ms. Alessandra Martini, Unit of Infectious Diseases, DG Research. The project was indeed scored very high in the evaluation summary report and it is the only one funded by the FP7 on microbicides at this stage.

    CHAARM project will provide a rational basis for development of new inhibitors in addition to knowledge of the structure of HIV-1, the cause of the majority of HIV infections globally. The project will evaluate for the first time the potential for commercial protease inhibitors to act as HIV microbicides, either singly or in combination. If the concept is valid, the distinct mechanism of microbicidal action will be useful in developing combination microbicides with increased breadth of coverage against divergent HIV-1 strains, reduced probability of transmitting viruses resistant to any single inhibitor, and possible microbicide synergy, creating dose-sparing effects.

    The project kick-off meeting was an occasion for all the partners to meet or start again a partnership but especially to begin the core activities of the project which have been outlined and strategically organised according to the workplan structure.

 

 


  • 09/02/2010 CHAARM kick off meeting planned

CHAARM project Kick off meeting takes place in Rome on the 9th and 10th February 2010.

Some of the 31 partners participating of the project met in Brussels last 13th January in a Steering Committee meeting which set the first work guidelines of this challenging and promising initiative.

The consortium involves internationally recognized research centres in HIV investigation, universities, medical institutions and RTD from 8 European Union countries and Switzerland, Ukraine, South Africa and the United States. All this effort is coordinated by the King’s College London as a continuation of the successful results of EMPRO (European Microbicides project) FP6 project.

The potential of CHAARM research and its experienced consortium will place European researchers at the forefront of microbicide development. CHAARM work programme includes training workshops on microbicide research for PhD students.


  • 11/01/2010 CHAARM project begins

CHAARM project (Combined Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Microbicides) started on the 1st of January 2010, and will run until December 2014 for 60 months. The project aims to further develop the research on microbides as a promising system to reduce a person's risk of HIV infection.

In the HIV prevention field microbicides are compounds or substances that could be used vaginally or rectally to reduce a person's risk of HIV infection and possibly other sexually transmitted infections. Even if condoms remain the most effective way of stopping sexually transmitted HIV many people do not have the power to avoid sexual contact with partners who may be infected. Microbicides have the potential to empower many individuals to protect themselves against HIV.

CHAARM consortium is composed of 31 organisations from 8 European Union countries and Switzerland, Ukraine, South Africa and the United States. Partners involve internationally recognized research centres in HIV investigation, universities, medical institutions and RTD experienced on the field. A number of these organizations have collaborated previously as part of the EMPRO (European Microbicides project) or TrIoH (Targeting Replication and Integration of HIV) FP6 projects and are currently involved in the Europrise network or Thinc project (Targeting HIV Integration Co-factors, targeting cellular proteins during nuclear import or integration of HIV). The project therefore follows a collaborative strategy reinforcing the need for a coherent, multi-disciplinary approach to maximize efforts in developing effective HIV microbicide products.

The potential of the research that will be carried out will place European researchers at the forefront of microbicide development. CHAARM work programme includes training workshops on microbicide research for PhD students.