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Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

Representing the 15th District of Texas

Congressman Gonzalez Announces HIV Research Grant Awarded to The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

July 11, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) today announced that the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, has awarded The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) nearly $500,000 in federal funding. The grant will finance the research and development of a Nano formulated Anti-HIV drug.

HIV remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, principally in developing countries. Although the present combined Antiretroviral Therapy (cART) has significantly reduced disease mortality among patients, major limitations remain given the complexity of dosing regimens, drug metabolism, and numerous side effects.

Thanks to the diligence, and dedication, of Principal Investigator and UTRGV Assistant Professor of Health and Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Upal Roy, Dr. Mito from the UTRGV Department of Chemistry, and Dr. Vadym Dorzd from Florida International University in Miami, Florida, UTRGV will be at the forefront of a possible medical breakthrough.

“It is a joy to know that the Rio Grande Valley, and UTRGV, will be at the forefront of medicine that could change the world,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “This cutting-edge drug delivery research will help to stimulate a robust research environment at our leading minority-serving institution and also expose students to a thriving biomedical research environment.”

“We are very proud of Dr. Roy’s accomplishments and knowing that his research has been judged to be competitive and to address a significant scientific problem on the national level,” Dr. Michael Lehker, Dean of the College of Health Affairs said. “The College of Health Affairs is building a research infrastructure that supports innovative research to support its mission to promote health equity, and to provide meaningful experiential learning opportunities for our students. Dr. Roy’s grant is yet another step towards achieving this goal.”

Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) associated comorbidities, including HIV associated neurological disorders (HAND), is one of the high priority areas of investigation considering its social and economic impact on our society. Currently there is no effective treatment for HAND, however according to researchers at UTRGV, new nanodiamond based nanodrug delivery can fulfill this dual aim by introducing the multidisciplinary approach of nanotechnology-based targeted drug delivery to the brain and potential reduction of HIV infected microglial reservoir in the brain. This will accelerate the discovery and validation of novel agent for the cellular and viral target to develop a safe, tolerable, low-cost antiviral agent.  

The program began July 1, 2018 and is set to run until June 30, 2021.