Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study

Project: Research project

Project Details


The Northwestern University (NU) Clinical Research Site (CRS) for the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) addresses the highest research priorities in AIDS research through retention and maintenance of the cohort, collection and repository storage of specimens, and development and implementation of the MACS research plans. As a CRS, we actively contribute to all MACS core protocols and thematic substudies to characterize the long-term, natural and treated history of HIV infection in a cohort of men who report sex with men (MSM) through the leadership we provide and the data and biological specimens we collect. We strictly adhere to good practice guidelines, established policies and procedures, and robust quality assurance and quality control measures to ensure the accuracy, reproducibility, and integrity of the clinical and laboratory data and specimens. Scientific and administrative management provides the flexibility and means to conduct multidisciplinary research projects and the resources to respond rapidly to evolving scientific opportunities. For the past 30 years, we have maintained a strong AIDS research portfolio that supports basic discovery research into important priority areas in etiology and pathogenesis, behavior and social science, and natural history and epidemiology. The diversity of the work makes possible a broad and multidisciplinary view of AIDS research. Scientific questions take full advantage of the unique aspects of the MACS that can distinguish data and specimens from men before and after infection, before and after beginning medications, or before and after the development of HIV-associated non-AIDS (HANA) conditions. Productive relationships across the entire MACS consortium as well as other consortia and organizations have coalesced around specific issues to advance scientific knowledge, the health of people, and policy development. By capitalizing on the unique resources of the NU Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program, we are able to apply cutting-edge tools and methodologies to the MACS dataset for exploring genetic and other biological data in search of the molecular basis of disease. Genomic data are shared among investigators in an interpretable manner and made widely available through a controlled-access system designed to reduce risks of sharing potentially identifying data. Looking ahead, the NU CRS will continue to support a rational, holistic research plan that will provide insight into the evolving biological and psychosocial characteristics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in MSM. We will build upon our current research portfolio, making maximal use of our unique cohort, rich with clinical and biological information and peripheral blood samples we banked for future use. We will implement a rolling cohort design to replace existing cohort members who die or otherwise are permanently lost to follow-up. With data obtained through multidisciplinary studies of high scientific quality, we expect to advance research that will help to better manage the care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS, and contribute to public health policy and interventions and to vaccine development.
Effective start/end date5/1/144/30/20


  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (5U01AI035039-25 REVISED)


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