President Obama proclaimed December 1 World AIDS Day, writing:
Today, we reflect on the strides we have taken toward overcoming HIV/AIDS, honor those who have made our progress possible, and keep in our thoughts all those who have known the devastating consequences of this illness.
One of those invited to the White House event was CIRM board member Jeff Sheehy, who is a long-time HIV/AIDS advocate. He was also recently named to the POZ 100 “Soldiers”. The magazine wrote of this group:
All wars—hot, cold and metaphorical—are won or lost on the front lines. The fight against HIV/AIDS is no different. Without the science—a cure, a vaccine and other biomedical prevention—the battle cannot be won. However, the science is only half the battle.
Jeff once told me that when he joined CIRM’s board eight years ago, he didn’t see a role for stem cells in an HIV/AIDS treatment. Now, CIRM has committed $40 million toward HIV/AIDS projects and two teams of researchers from City of Hope and UCLA are working toward clinical trials. Two researchers from the City of Hope-led team were also named to the POZ list, John Zaia and Paula Cannon. (We’ve written previously about success of these two teams and their approaches.)
Here’s Jeff talking about his hopes for a cure, with John Zaia of City of Hope discussing his team’s work.
Jeff is one of ten patient advocates on our board who help keep the board’s focus where it belongs – on finding therapies for incurable diseases and injuries. Clearly, we’re not alone in thinking that he’s a valuable advocate for finding a cure for all those who are living with HIV/AIDS.