- To advance understanding of HIV and its effects on the brain and nervous system.
- A collaboration between people living with HIV and scientists, with the primary purpose of providing a future benefit to all those infected with HIV.
- Established in 1998 by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the MHBB is based at Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, and is a member of the National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium. It has an ongoing clinical study, and acts as a resource of detailed medical information linked to a biorepository of tissues and fluids for research use by the scientific community. It provides a means by which people living with HIV can be engaged in the struggle to improve our knowledge about HIV infection and the damage it causes to the body.
The primary research focus of the MHBB is the neurologic, neuropsychologic, psychiatric and neuropathologic manifestations of HIV infection. The MHBB conducts a longitudinal, observational study that follows a group of HIV-infected individuals who have agreed to be fluid and organ donors for the purposes of AIDS research. We are currently the largest, multidisciplinary neuroAIDS cohort in New York City, the epicenter of the US HIV epidemic. Our research participants undergo regular neurologic, neuropsychologic, and psychiatric evaluations, and provide body fluid samples that are linked to clinical information. Upon their demise, study participants become organ donors. This program has supplied clinical information, tissue, and fluid samples to over 70 qualified AIDS researchers across America, Europe and Australia. In fulfilling its resource mission, the MHBB functions as part of the National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium (NNTC).
The ultimate mission of the MHBB is to provide benefit to all those infected with HIV, by supporting diverse translational research projects focused on AIDS pathogenesis. We also provide sophisticated analysis of nervous system function to our participants, which is free of charge, and can be communicated back to their primary care providers. The MHBB conducts diverse observational pilot studies in our urban cohort, to help target and focus research on emerging problems in disease diagnosis and evolution in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART). As HAART changes the course and manifestations of HIV disease, our program is able to generate data to help focus research priorities. MHBB pilot studies have covered a wide variety of topics, including racial and ethnic disparities in HIV disease, effects of co-infection with hepatitis C virus, peripheral neuropathy, HIV-associated myelopathy, and determinants of antiretroviral adherence. The MHBB has published observations on gender-related differences in AIDS mortality. The MHBB was the first to publish a description of the interaction of HCV in HIV-related neuropsychologic dysfunction, and the first to document inadequacies in current methodologies for arriving at the diagnosis of dementia in ethnic and racial minorities.
In 2004, recognizing the increasing importance of liver disease to patients with HIV, another branch of the program, the Manhattan Hepatology Brain Bank, was opened. The focus of this project is to elucidate the complex interaction of liver disease, and particularly HCV-related liver disease, with nervous system function. Patients in this program are HIV-negative, but have significant liver disorders.
In 2007, the MHBB established a formal collboration with the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), offering formal co-enrollment to WIHS pariticipants in New York, regardless of HIV status. We hope that by this collaboration we will be able to make significant contributions to understanding the impact that HIV/AIDS has had on women's health, and in particular, their nervous system function.