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ACTG Newsletter | April 2023
The ACTG is proud to announce two recent, important publications. Journal of Infectious Diseases published “Varied Patterns of Decay of Intact HIV-1 Proviruses over Two Decades of ART,” which found that levels of intact proviral DNA (inactive HIV DNA that may be capable of replicating) initially decay rapidly but that decay markedly slows among virally suppressed people living with HIV on long-term ART. Clinical Infectious Diseases published “Perspectives on Adherence from the ACTG 5360 MINMON Trial: A Minimum Monitoring Approach with 12 Weeks of Sofosbuvir/Velpatasvir in Chronic Hepatitis C Treatment,” which found that self-reported 100 percent adherence in the first four weeks of hepatitis C treatment with sofosbuvir/velpatasvir was associated with sustained virologic response. Please click the links to check out the press releases  and join us in congratulating the study teams!
Hepatitis B Workshop

As the ACTG Hepatitis Transformative Science Group (HEP TSG) embarks on a new era of novel therapeutics in Hepatitis B infection, the HEP TSG leadership would like to facilitate the first of a series of workshops on Thursday May 4th. 2023, 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT with interested investigators to share site-led best practices and learn about barriers to implementing and conducting hepatitis B trials across sites.  This first  session will discuss enrolling studies and studies in development, share some strategies in participant engagement, and most importantly, seek to hear from sites about successes and challenges in ACTG hepatitis B clinical trials. Stay tuned for more information!


Laboratory Director:

Gary Maartens, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Gary Maartens is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Cape Town, South Africa where he was the head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology. His major research interests are co-treatment of HIV-associated tuberculosis and development of novel regimens for drug-resistant tuberculosis. He served on the ACTG’s Tuberculosis Transformative Science Group from 2011 to 2021. He is the protocol co-chair of A5343 and the protocol pharmacologist on A5362, A5381, A5406, and A5397/HVTN 603.

The University of Cape Town is an international leader in tuberculosis and HIV research and provides a strongly supportive and stimulating research environment. The Division of Clinical Pharmacology has designed, conducted, and analyzed phase 2/3 and drug-drug interaction studies in TB and HIV for more than 20 years.
The lab’s strengths fall into three major areas:

  • A large bioanalytic facility (nine liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry workstations) headed by Associate Professor Lubbe Wiesner with a strong team of bioanalysts that has developed multiple assays in different matrices with an outstanding clinical pharmacology quality assurance record
  • A strong team of clinical pharmacologists headed by Professor Maartens with an excellent track record of designing and analyzing clinical pharmacology studies in TB and HIV
  • A strong pharmacometrics group headed by Professor Paolo Denti, which pioneered the use of population-PK modelling in TB



CRS Site Spotlight:

Nutrición-Mexico CRS, Mexico City, Mexico

Content contributed by: German Arturo Martinez Blanco

The Nutrición-Mexico CRS is situated within the Nutrition and Medical Sciences Institute (INNCMSZ), one of Mexico’s national institutes of health. The Institute has just completed 75 years of providing state-of-the-art care and being a benchmark for care and research at the national level in nutrition, metabolic syndromes, and infectious diseases. The site was registered with ACTG in 2020 and was officially activated on January 18, 2022.

The site team includes prominent health professionals, known in our country for their clinical work and their relevant role as researchers and disseminators on public health issues. During the process of integration into the network, colleagues with a lot of experience in community work have joined.

We have been working to form and strengthen our Community Advisory Board (CAB) with specialists, activists, science communicators and members of key populations, all with extensive experience in community work. Gay men, sex workers, cis women and trans representatives have brought their expertise and the voices of key populations to the table.
Something that distinguishes our site is that both the research team and the CAB have known and respected our work for several years. Both professional relationships and friendships have been strengthened through transparency and support for each other’s projects has been a basis for trust.
Despite the technical, administrative, and bureaucratic challenges, we are very excited to participate in ACTG research protocols in the prevention and treatment of HIV, TB, hepatitis, and mpox.

Investigator Spotlight:

Kristine Erlandson, University of Colorado

Kristine Erlandson, MD, MS is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado. She has been actively involved in the ACTG since she was an infectious diseases fellow, when she sought out opportunities to explore lean mass changes from A5224s with Dr. Grace McComsey. Her early work using existing data from ACTG studies ultimately contributed key preliminary data to support a proposal for what was later combined to become A5322, and a proposal on statins and muscle function resulted in the REPRIEVE Substudy, A5361s. 

Kristine’s research is focused on the epidemiology, management, and prevention of comorbidities and geriatric syndromes among people living with HIV. Within the ACTG, Kristine has served as a member and now co-chair of the ITSG/CTSG. She is Chair of PREPARE (5361s), Co-chair of SLIM LIVER (A5371), and an investigator on HAILO (A5322), REPRIEVE (A5332), A5383, and A5391 teams. She also chaired or co-chaired the physical function working group and the HIV/Aging Working Group. She is a prior recipient of the John A. Carey Young Investigator Award and served as a co-mentor for Dr. Sarah Bares on the Minority Investigator Award with Dr. Susan Swindells.  

She received her undergraduate degree from Augustana College (IL) and medical degree from Southern Illinois University. She completed her internal medicine residency and a chief residency year at the University of Nebraska, where she had the opportunity to work with Dr. Swindells. She then completed her infectious diseases fellowship at the University of Colorado, under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Campbell. 

In her free time, Kristine enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, running, camping, traveling, and watching her children develop their talents.


Community Spotlight:

Anne Njoroge, CSS, CAB member MUCRC Eldoret-Kenya

Content contributed by Anne Njoroge

I am a laid-back kind of a person. I have lived with HIV since 2002. I am a witness of what science and research can do because I have two children who are HIV negative. My mantra is to bloom where I am planted – to be the change I want.

I have been involved with the Eldoret-Kenya CAB since 2010. My passion in the work of HIV is advocacy about HIV stigma and discrimination, especially amongst Kenyan young people.

I was a GCAB member from 2018-2020 and later joined the CSS. Apart from being in studies and the ORR group, my main involvement with the community as a CAB member is conducting outreach with the community, meeting them where they live to educate them about research. When there are ongoing studies, we mobilize the community before the technical team hit the ground. This is because in our country, religion and culture play a major role in how the community responds to research, so every quarter of the year we go to the community and sensitize them about the importance of research, HIV prevention, and the elimination of HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

During these meetings, the community identifies with me since I took part in study A5208 and I live positively with HIV.
When I’m not empowering the community, I am in schools talking to young people about adherence to HIV medication, stigma and discrimination, drug use and healthy relationships.

Every two months, I am also involved with an activity focused on girls that aims to fight three threats they face in Kenya: HIV prevention, teenage pregnancy, and gender-based violence. During such meetings, the girls are empowered and given sanitary pads.

And every 1st December, you will find me celebrating World AIDS Day. This is a good time to reflect how far we have come as a people around community research related to HIV. My belief is that eventually we shall have an HIV- free generation.  
I describe myself as the hummingbird, doing that little thing possible to make a difference. When I want to unwind, I travel. I love to see the world and appreciate its wonders.
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