Cohen wins top award from Clinical Research Forum for HIV prevention study

April 18, 2012
For his groundbreaking research on treatment as prevention of HIV, Myron Cohen, MD, has received the top honor of the inaugural Clinical Research Forum Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Awards.

Dr. Myron Cohen

Dr. Myron Cohen

Cohen is professor of medicine and microbiology in the UNC School of Medicine and of epidemiology at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Cohen’s study, HIV Prevention Trials Network 052, showed that treating people with HIV with antiretroviral therapy renders them virtually non-contagious, reducing sexual transmission by 96 percent. The study findings, published Aug. 11, 2011 in The New England Journal of Medicine, were first made public in May 2011, four years before the study’s scheduled completion, because they were so overwhelmingly positive.

HPTN 052 convincingly demonstrated that HIV treatment is the most powerful prevention tool currently available.

“Objectively, very few clinical trials have had the impact of HPTN 052,” said Marschall S. Runge, MD, PhD, chair of the department of medicine and executive dean at the UNC School of Medicine. “The study is a remarkable example of clinical research from ‘bench to bedside’ that informs public health policy.”

The Clinical Research Forum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing national leadership in clinical research. Its mission is to generate support for clinical research and promote understanding of its impact on health and health care delivery. Winning projects are selected to reflect scientific innovation resulting from the nation’s investment in clinical research to benefit human health and welfare.

Cohen’s research was honored with the Forum’s Herbert Pardes Clinical Research Excellence Award, named for the former president and chief executive officer of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, a physician who is regarded as a champion and visionary in clinical research.

“The tripartite mission of excellence in research, medical education and patient care unites all scientists in academic medical settings in their pursuit of clinical research that will expand the boundaries of medicine, increase the ability to diagnose, treat and prevent disease, and offer patients and their families hope for the future,” Pardes said. “I am delighted to be able to advance this vitally important mission and support clinical researchers as they pursue game-changing medical breakthroughs.”

“Clinical research is key to our efforts to turn discoveries into health, serving as the bridge between advances in basic scientific understanding and the development of new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease,” said National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “NIH is a major supporter of clinical research, and I am delighted to see this important field get the recognition it so richly deserves.”

HPTN 052 was largely funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, with additional funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health, all part of the NIH.

Cohen and the other winners were honored on April 18 during the Clinical Research Forum annual meeting and awards dinner in Washington, D.C.


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UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Linda Kastleman, communications editor, (919) 966-8317 or linda_kastleman@unc.edu.