Funds Raised During Seventh Annual Kiehl's LifeRide for amfAR Accelerate Research Efforts Toward HIV Cure
Annual Motorcycle #Charity Ride Raises $150,000 for HIV/#AIDS Research
NEW YORK, Aug. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- On the heels of the seventh annual Kiehl's LifeRide for amfAR, Kiehl's Since 1851, the venerable New York-based purveyor of fine quality skin and hair care products, and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research have announced that the $150,000 raised at this year's LifeRide will go toward a specific cure-focused research project led by Satish Pillai, Ph.D., Associate Investigator at the Blood Systems Research Institute and Associate Professor of Laboratory Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
The 11-day, multi-stop, 1,100-mile motorcycle charity ride started in New York City on August 3 and culminated in Philadelphia on August 13, raising HIV/AIDS awareness and a total of $150,000 for research at multiple high-profile events at Kiehl's stores along the way.
The major barrier to curing HIV is believed to be the reservoir of persistent virus that remains in a person even after they have reached a so-called "undetectable" level of HIV as a result of antiretroviral therapy. This virus lies in a very small number of cells and is invisible to the immune system. Scientists are currently trying to understand the biological mechanisms underlying this reservoir and how they can be manipulated to cure HIV.
The funds raised from LifeRide will help Dr. Pillai study two cellular proteins, p21 and schaflen 11, that keep the virus in its hidden state and are present in HIV-infected people with the smallest reservoir. Dr. Pillai is using cutting-edge, single-cell analyses to study these new proteins and determine how they reduce the size of the reservoir. Ultimately, if the two antivirus factors are found to play a role in determining the size of the viral reservoir, it may constitute a pathway for the development of anti-latency drugs.
Considered one of the leading scientists in HIV/AIDS today, Dr. Pillai is also on the leadership team for the San Francisco-based amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research, the cornerstone of amfAR's $100 million cure research investment strategy.
"We are thrilled that Kiehl's is just as passionate as we are about our goal of finding a cure for HIV," said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. "Dr. Pillai's work will generate vital information and could significantly advance the field of HIV cure research."
Since 2010, Kiehl's has generously raised $1.6 million for amfAR during LifeRide, funding eight cure-related research projects.
"The Kiehl's LifeRide for amfAR is a testament to the idea that we all have the power to make noise and inspire action," said Chris Salgardo, President of Kiehl's Since 1851. "Through Dr. Pillai's work and that of many other scientists working on HIV cure research every day with amfAR, we believe that we will ultimately end the AIDS epidemic once and for all."