Professor John Frater
Professor of Infectious Diseases
HIV Reservoir and Cure Group
Antiretroviral therapy for the treatment of HIV infection is one of the great medical advances of the last century. It has changed HIV from a disease of almost certain death to a condition associated with a lack of illness, a normal lifespan, and the confidence that it cannot be passed on to sexual partners.
However, despite these breakthroughs, there is on-going stigma for many people living with HIV, and the potential for drug side-effects, interactions with other medicines, and the requirement to take medicine every day for life.
The two great outstanding challenges for HIV researchers are to find a vaccine that prevents infection and to find a cure for those who are infected.
My group works on the search for an HIV cure. We run a mixture of clinical trials and basic laboratory science. Our work is highly collaborative, working with international and national partners across the UK, Europe, the USA and Africa. Most importantly our work is focused on people and clinical outcomes - our aim is to advance the research that will one day find a cure for HIV
Our clinical trials include RIO - a $10 million venture with Rockefeller University, Imperial College and the Gates Foundation as well as RIVER, PITCH, SPARTAC and HEATHER - all ground-breaking studies helping to understand how and why HIV persists for life and trying to test ways to eradicate it. We also work closely with partners in the REACH Martin Delaney Collaboratory - an NIH funded program in the US, dedicated to HIV cure.
At the same time, we run an immunology laboratory that explores which immune responses might be key to a long-term cure for HIV as well as virology studies that look at the genetic code of the virus to see how that might help inform new therapies.