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San Gabriel Valley : NEW HOPE

The City of Hope in Duarte announced Monday that it won a four-year, $4.5-million grant to continue its groundbreaking research of possible genetic treatments for the AIDS virus.

The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases granted Dr. John Zalia and his group with the Strategic Project for the Innovative Research in AIDS Treatment award, said Dr. Nava Sarver, acting chief of the institute’s AIDS intervention division.

Zalia, director of virology at the City of Hope, is coordinating the work between researchers in his department and at Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles and Loma Linda University Medical Center. He said the group is studying how to use a Nobel Prize-winning discovery from the early 1980s to genetically alter certain bone marrow cells to strengthen the body’s natural defenses against viruses such as AIDS.

The group is waiting for FDA approval of the procedure but hopes to test its work on AIDS patients in 1997, Zalia said.

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