Expert Alert

World AIDS Day

Drs. Joshua Rhein and Tim Schacker
Drs. Joshua Rhein and Tim Schacker. Credit: University of Minnesota.

People around the globe will observe World AIDS Day on December 1 to show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have passed away from an AIDS-related illness. 

The University of Minnesota Medical School is one of the few sites in the United States conducting clinical trials for HIV/AIDS using cell-based therapies. Experts Tim Schacker, MD, and Joshua Rhein, MD, speak about the U of M Medical School’s role in driving for a cure. 

Tim Schacker, MD

“Faculty at the University of Minnesota Medical School have the ability to study the HIV virus where it lives in lymphatic tissue reservoirs. This specialized technique was developed by infectious disease physicians in collaboration with our skilled surgeons, who are now sharing the potential and impact of this study focus. University faculty have trained scientists around the world in how to safely sample lymphatic tissue reservoirs.” 

“With a legacy of strength in cell-based therapies stretching back to early success with blood and marrow transplantation for cancers, work has progressed to developing novel trials for a range of conditions, which now includes HIV/AIDS. Today, our physician-scientists continue to push the boundaries on the potential curative role of cell-based therapy to treat HIV. This approach aims to restore important parts of the immune system damaged by HIV infection.”

Joshua Rhein, MD

“In the last 10 years, we have enrolled more than 200 participants in clinical trials, collecting more than 1,500 biopsies to understand how HIV works in the lymphatic system. Right now, we have two trials enrolling participants to understand how inflammation contributes to HIV persistence, and the other to test the efficacy of NK cells.”  

Contacts
Tim Schacker, MD

Vice dean for research and program director in HIV Medicine at the U of M Medical School.

Contact: [email protected]

Download a high resolution photo of Dr. Schacker.

Tim Schacker, MD, is the vice dean for research and program director in HIV Medicine at the U of M Medical School. He has expertise in the factors that increase the likelihood and efficiency of HIV transmission and T cell homeostasis in HIV-1 infected persons.

Joshua Rhein, MD

Assistant professor at the U of M Medical School

Contact: [email protected]

Download a high resolution photo of Dr. Rhein

Joshua Rhein, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine at the U of M Medical School. He has a broad background in global health and infectious diseases, with primary expertise in cryptococcal meningitis and other AIDS-related opportunistic infections. He has been an investigator on several large, guideline-informing clinical trials on HIV-associated meningitis. 

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The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We acknowledge that the U of M Medical School, both the Twin Cities campus and Duluth campus, is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and scores of other Indigenous people, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with tribal nations. For more information about the U of M Medical School, please visit med.umn.edu.

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