Infectious Disease Research Unit in the Spotlight

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Infectious Disease Research Unit at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital CRS has been recognized for its outstanding performance as a clinical research site in the Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV (REPRIEVE).

Led by Dushyantha T. Jayaweera, M.D., professor of medicine and senior associate dean for research at the Miller School, the team was singled out by REPRIEVE leadership for seamlessly handling the transfer of 26 participants when a neighboring clinical research site closed.

From left: Jose Castro, M.D., Sendy Puerto, Annie Salvarrey, Lisa Rohn, Vivian Pastrana, Dushyantha T. Jayaweera, M.D., and Tom Tanner.

“Since then,” read the commendation, “the team has continued to perform above and beyond trial standards, setting and meeting ambitious enrollment goals, maintaining perfect retention, and demonstrating exemplary data management and laboratory practices.”

REPRIEVE is the first large-scale randomized clinical research trial to test a strategy for heart disease prevention among people living with HIV. Specifically, REPRIEVE will explore whether a daily dose of a statin (pitavastatin) reduces the risk of heart disease among HIV-infected individuals.

Although AIDS-related complications and deaths are declining, heart disease among HIV-infected individuals is emerging as a major public health problem. This is happening despite effective treatment for HIV. People living with HIV are 50 to 100 percent more likely to develop heart disease — including heart attack and stroke — compared with people who do not have HIV. Increased chronic inflammation related to HIV may be contributing to the increased risk of heart disease.

“We are very excited to participate in the REPRIEVE study, as we believe it will be a landmark study in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in people with HIV,” Dr. Jayaweera said, speaking on behalf of his research team. “We believe we can contribute toward answering very important questions that affect our aging minority population that is infected with HIV.”

Other team members from the Miller School include Jose Castro, M.D., Sendy Puerto, Annie Salvarrey, Lisa Rohn, Vivian Pastrana, and Tom Tanner.