Newswise — PHILADELPHIA—(October 14, 2021)—The Wistar Institute is proud to announce Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (NIH); Jane Shull, chief executive officer of Philadelphia FIGHT; philanthropist Ken Nimblett; Philadelphia Foundation and the Robert I. Jacobs Fund; and Philadelphia FIGHT will be honored at the Wistar Legacy Awards, a celebration of 25 years of continuous HIV research collaboration on Thursday, October 28 from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m.
Fauci will also deliver the 25th Annual Jonathan Lax Memorial Lecture at this virtual, Wistar-hosted event. Fauci’s lecture highlights research advances and the NIH’s approximately 75 percent increase in HIV cure-directed funding made in 2021, equaling approximately $53 million annually over the next five years. Other guest speakers include David Fair, HIV/LGBTQ activist and founder of Lavender Health (now the Mazzoni Center) and the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office; Ronda Goldfein, Esq., activist and executive director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania; and former Philadelphia mayor Reverend Doctor W. Wilson Goode, director and CEO of the Amachi Program mentoring children with incarcerated parents.
Focused on developing HIV/AIDS treatment strategies and moving research towards an HIV cure, Luis J. Montaner, D.V.M., D.Phil., Herbert Kean, M.D., Family Endowed Chair Professor, leader of the HIV Research Program at The Wistar Institute, and co-principal investigator of the BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory, recognizes how a 25 year joint endeavor with the support of all Legacy Award recipients has grown into a global academic-industry program bringing together scientists, advocates, clinicians, and people living with HIV in and out of Philadelphia.
“The Wistar Legacy Awards recognize 25 years of continued teamwork that has resulted in high-impact research advances, community engagement, and a true hope for a day that HIV will be cured,” said Montaner. “What started with local efforts centered in research supported by the NIH, philanthropic efforts including the Philadelphia Foundation, and local community engagement through Philadelphia FIGHT, has now grown into a large global network, and a center of excellence for cure-directed research for the benefit of people living with HIV.”
“It is a special moment for Wistar to honor the work accomplished with our collaborators, where for more than 25 years we have focused on developing a global scientific strategy for HIV cure research,” said Dario C. Altieri, M.D., Wistar president and CEO, director of The Wistar Institute Cancer Center and the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professor. “This is a unique opportunity to share our global leadership and impact on HIV research—which started right here in Philadelphia—and is a testament to our scientific strengths and culture of collaboration.”
The Jonathan Lax Memorial Lecture was established by The Wistar Institute and Philadelphia FIGHT after Mr. Lax’s death to honor his legacy by bringing distinguished speakers to a lay audience. Past speakers have included luminaries in the HIV/AIDS field such as Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Ph.D., emeritus professor at the Institut Pasteur, David D. Ho, M.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University, and Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School.
The Lecture honors Jonathan Lax, President of the Board of Philadelphia FIGHT, who died from complications of AIDS in 1996. Mr. Lax, a successful businessman, was a leading advocate for bringing information directly to people living with HIV and their families. He devoted personal resources throughout his life to helping people to learn how to make decisions that would affect their health care as a person living with HIV. In the pre-internet era, Mr. Lax helped FIGHT sponsor many public forums to assure that people living with HIV/AIDS had access to up-to-date information delivered by recognized specialists.
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The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer, immunology, infectious diseases, and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. wistar.org
BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory is part of an international consortium of more than 80 top HIV researchers from academia, industry, government, and nonprofit sectors working toward an HIV cure. The Collaboratory is leading three advanced trials to define effective ways to combine immunotherapy regimes towards a cure. BEAT-HIV.org
Philadelphia FIGHT is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) offering HIV treatment and primary care to people living with HIV/AIDS and those at high risk, as well as community education and outreach programs on HIV, Hepatitis, and other topics impacting public health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, FIGHT has provided no barrier, walk-up COVID testing to over 13,000 people in low income neighborhoods of Philadelphia, and partnered with ten community based organizations to bring COVID vaccines to these communities.
Philadelphia Foundation, founded in 1918, strengthens the economic, social and civic vitality of Greater Philadelphia. It grows effective philanthropic investment, connects individuals and institutions across sectors and geography, and advances civic initiatives through partnerships and collaboration. A publicly supported foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation manages more than 1,000 charitable funds established by its donors and makes over 1,000 grants and scholarship awards each year. To learn more visit www.philafound.org.