Core and Cohort Updates

Admin Core

The Admin Core successfully submitted its grant renewal application to NIH in mid-January, and it also provided assistance to the BDM Core and U01s in preparing and submitting their applications on time.

Jeffrey Samet, Carly Bridden, and Natalia Gnatienko attended the Consortia for HIV/AIDS and Alcohol-Related Research Trials (CHAART) Scientific Meeting in Washington D.C with fellow URBAN ARCH investigators and staff on February 7-9 where several junior investigators presented posters. The CHAART meeting provided an opportunity to enhance interdisciplinary, cross-consortia data harmonization, update consortia members and key NIH collaborators on research findings, and provide strategic discussion of future research directions for each consortium.

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l-r: Carly Bridden, Alicia Ventura, and Karsten Lunze, an URBAN ARCH junior investigator, presenting his poster titled “HIV Stigma and Alcohol Use among People Living with HIV in Russia” at the CHAART Meeting in Washington D.C. 

Carly Bridden, Julia Canfield, and Terri O’Brien are also assisting with the coordination of a Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC) reception at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) on Wednesday, February 24th from 6:00-8:00PM at the Pour House in Boston. This reception will bring together investigators, staff, and junior scholars in the fields of HIV, HCV, and substance use from URBAN ARCH, BU Section of Infectious Diseases, CHERISH, and the Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit. Please RSVP to if you would like to attend this reception.

Finally, Admin Core staff have recently begun planning the 5th URBAN ARCH Annual Meeting to be held on April 5th and 6th at BUMC. We look forward to welcoming both internal and external investigators and collaborators back to Boston for discussions and updates on URBAN ARCH HIV and alcohol research! Please email if you would like to attend this year’s Annual Meeting.

BDM Core

The BDM Core continues to assist with data management activities across URBAN ARCH and is working to finalize data sets for the Uganda and Boston cohorts. In addition, several data analyses and manuscripts are in progress.  The Core is also beginning work to create data presentations and reports for the upcoming Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) meeting in April.

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l-r: Greg Patts, Leah Forman, Tim Heeren, Michael Winter, Christine Lloyd-Travaglini, Sharon Coleman, and Debbie Cheng at their BDM Core meeting in February 2016

Uganda Cohort

As of February 1, 2016, Uganda ARCH has concluded enrollment with a total of 447 subjects. Uganda ARCH has conducted 434 6-month assessments, 307 12-month assessments, 189 18-month assessments, 122 24-month assessments, 63 30-month assessments, and 27 36-month assessments. All participant follow-up was concluded by November, 2015.

l-r: Judy Hahn, Sarah Woolf-King, Nneka Emenyonu, Julian Adong, Robin Fatch, and Stephen Asiimwe pose together for a Uganda ARCH team photo

The Uganda team successfully submitted their URBAN ARCH grant renewal proposal titled “TB Preventive Therapy for HIV-infected Alcohol Users in Uganda: An Evaluation of Safety, Tolerability, and Adherence.” Judy Hahn and Kinna Thakarar also attended the 2016 CHAART Meeting in Washington D.C., where Kinna presented her poster titled “Alcohol Consumption in Ugandan HIV-infected Household-brewers Verus Non-brewers.”

Russia Cohort and ZINC RCT

As of February 1, 2016, Russia ARCH (n=351) conducted 260 six-month assessments, 214 twelve-month assessments, 150 eighteen-month assessments, and 81 twenty four-month assessments. As of February 1, 2016, ZINC (n=254) conducted 160 six-month assessments, 122 twelve-month assessments, and 66 eighteen-month assessments.

l-r: Kendall Bryant, Matt Freiberg, and Glory Koerbel at the CHAART Meeting in Washington D.C.

The team submitted their proposal for the Studying Partial-agonists for Ethanol and Tobacco Elimination in Russians with HIV (St PETER HIV) RCT as part of the URBAN ARCH grant renewal in January. The study will recruit HIV-infected smokers and heavy drinkers from the established Russia ARCH cohort to compare the effects of two nicotinic partial agonists, varenicline and cytisine, on alcohol consumption, alcohol craving, smoking, inflammation, CHD risk and mortality risk.

The team is actively pursuing data analyses, abstract submissions, and manuscript preparation. Over the last 3 months the following manuscripts were submitted for review:

  • Alcohol Use and Food Insecurity among People Living with HIV in Mbarara, Uganda and St. Petersburg, Russia (Patts et al.)
  • Cascade of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Care Among HIV-infected People Who Inject Drugs in St. Petersburg: The Russian HCV Chasm (Tsui et al.)
  • Impact of illicit opioid use on T cell subsets among HIV-infected adults (Edelman et al.)
  • Sexual violence from police and HIV risks among women who inject drugs in St Petersburg, Russia (Lunze et al.)
  • Mortality in HIV-infected alcohol and drug users in Russia (Fairbairn et al.)

sharonWe also submitted Sexual Partnerships and HIV Serodiscordance among Women and Men Who Inject Drugs in St. Petersburg, Russia (Tsui et al.) and HIV Testing Algorithms in Research Settings: Lessons from Uganda and Russia (Coleman et al.) as abstracts to the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.

A number of study team members also presented posters at the 2016 CHAART meeting in in DC.

Sharon Coleman presenting “HIV Testing Algorithms in Research Settings: Lessons from Uganda and Russia” at the CHAART Meeting in Washington D.C.

Boston Cohort

As of February 2016, Boston ARCH has enrolled the target number of participants into the cohort (n=250).  The Boston ARCH team has completed all 6-month follow-up assessments (n=245, 99% completion rate) and all 12-month follow-up assessments (n=234, completion rate 96%). The team also completed 246 supplement assessments to assess lifetime alcohol and drug use and consequences in the cohort, as well as 198 18-month follow-up assessments, 133 24-month follow-up assessments, and 43 30-month follow-up assessments.

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l-r: Bob Cook and Alicia Ventura at the CHAART Meeting in Washington D.C.

The Boston ARCH team successfully submitted a competitive renewal application to NIAAA, “Alcohol and HIV Associated Comorbidity and Complications: Frailty, Functional Impairment, Falls, and Fractures (the 4F study),” to continue and expand the existing cohort to better understand falls in people living with HIV.  In February 2016, Alicia Ventura, Boston ARCH Project Manager, traveled to Washington D.C. for the 2016 Collaborative Centers for HIV/AIDS and Alcohol Outcomes Research (CHAART) Scientific Meeting where she presented on the current status of Boston ARCH and the proposed 4F Study.

Gabriel 1 MMSRP Poster Session 01.29.2016

Gabriel Lerner presenting his poster at the Boston University Medical Student Summer Research Program Symposium in Boston, MA

The Boston ARCH team and the BDM Core continue to work with a number of junior faculty, fellows and graduate students to support new analyses of Boston ARCH data, abstract submissions, and manuscript preparation. Several abstracts have been submitted, including to the CPDD 78th Annual Scientific Meeting and Society for General Internal Medicine’s Annual Meeting.  Gabriel Lerner’s poster “A Novel Classification of Polypharmacy in a Cohort of HIV-infected Adults with Substance Dependence” was presented at both the 2016 CHAART Scientific Meeting and also the Boston University Medical Student Summer Research Program Symposium on January 29th, where it was selected as a Runner Up for the Best Clinical Research Poster Award.

The team has received results from Q2 Solutions in Valencia, California from the first batch of testing for albumin, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and free testosterone conducted on stored serum.