What is ACTG (AIDS Clinical Trials Group)?

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Many of you might have heard of 'ACTG' which can be expanded as 'AIDS Clinical Trials Group'. But, what is this actually? What it does? How ACTG is related to clinical trials? In order to know all these information, continue reading the article ...

This is one among the largest clinical trials organizations of the globe that is especially meant for HIV. This huge organization is playing a major role in setting the standards for HIV care and the opportunistic diseases that are related to HIV infection and AIDS. (1) Know about the structure, mission and functions of the group here:

Looking Back at the History of ACTG:

The history of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group can be dated back to more than two decades. The outline of this huge network was found to be created on the dining room table of Maureen Myers, which grew into the requests for proposals. This first step of the network was set with the deadline on January, 1986. This first step of the group could yield a dozen research sites around the United States along with a data management center during the year 1986. These first research sites were named as 'AIDS Treatment and Evaluation Units (ATEU's)'.

Upon recognizing that the group was making some significant advances in HIV treatment and care, more money was allotted by the Congress for the purposes of research. Also, an extra dozen sites were included to the network and were referred to as 'Clinical Studies Groups'.

ACTG also set up several committees in order to flush out the network's scientific agenda. As such, committees were created for the following therapeutic areas:

- Oncology

- Immunology

- HIV treatment

- Opportunistic infections

By the year 1995, the AIDS Clinical Trials Group made its decision to focus solely on the treatment of HIV in adults. And, the pediatrics arm of the group became its network under 'National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)'. During the year 2013, the network added research sites in the following regions:

- South Africa

- Thailand

- Kenya

- Brazil

- Washington, D.C. (2)

Mission of AIDS Clinical Trials Group:

The mission of the ACTG network is to develop as well as conduct translational research and clinical trials for the purpose of:

- Investigating the viral as well as immune pathogenesis of HIV infection along with its complications

- Evaluating the novel drugs and the strategies for treating HIV infection

- Evaluating the interventions and the strategies for treating and preventing HIV-related co-infections and co-morbidities

- Publishing and disseminating the results to improve care

- Reducing or eliminating morbidity and mortality that are associated with HIV infection and its complications. (2)

Understanding the Mission of the ACTG's Web Properties:

The mission of the web properties of the ACTG is to support the AIDS Clinical Trials Group through the effective use of internet as well as social media technology for providing timely and valuable information to all the global users which includes:

- HIV/AIDS research networks

- Clinical research sites

- Pharmaceutical companies

- Laboratories

- Data management center

- Investigators

- Community members

- Other organizations

The web properties of this network consist of the public and member sites along with a file-sharing portal site. The specific goals of the web properties are to:

- Enhance the network presence of AIDS Clinical Trials Group over the internet by widening the information on the following:

o ACTG's research studies

o Sites

o Committees

o Communities

o Laboratories

o Publications

o Other entities

- Provide news or information related to the network's events and activities

- Develop automated processes for the following:

o Protocol development

o Management performance evaluation

o Abstract submissions

o Manuscript submissions

o Publication submissions

- Enhance dashboard as well as reporting capabilities

- Allow submissions of online applications

- Facilitate the communication as well as collaboration among the ACTG users across the globe

Important Personnel of the Network:

Here is the list of important personnel of the ACTG network:

- Daniel Kuritzkes, MD: ACTG Network Principal Investigator and Chair, ACTG Executive Committee

- Judith Currier, MD, MSc: ACTG Vice Chair

- Ian Sanne, FCP(SA), FRCP(lon): ACTG International Vice Chair

- Robert Coombs, MD, PhD, FRCPC: Principal Investigator of the ACTG's Laboratory Center

- Michael Hughes, PhD: Principal Investigator of the ACTG's Statistical and Data Management Center

- Michael Lederman, MD: Chair, ACTG End-Organ Disease and Inflammation TSG

- John Mellors, MD: Chair, ACTG Cure TSG

- Raymond Chung, MD: Chair, ACTG Hepatitis TSG

- Richard Chaisson, MD: Chair, ACTG Tuberculosis TSG

- Lauren Robertson, MSM, MHA: Executive Director of the ACTG Leadership and Operations Center

- Tina Brenneman: Director of the ACTG Network Coordinating Center

ACTG's Performance Evaluation Program:

The AIDS Clinical Trials Group has a well-established and more comprehensive performance evaluation program in order to promote the quality clinical research within its clinical trial network. It is the 'Performance Evaluation Committee' which develops as well as implements the effective methods for measuring the performance at sites and laboratories and also the performance of other important components of the network. This committee is involved in developing more meaningful performance measures that would focus on the following criteria:

- Study integrity

- Scientific quality

- Efficient resource use

- Protection of research participants

Major areas that are being assessed by the ACTG performance evaluation program are:

- Enrollment

- Retention

- Data management

- Regulatory compliance

- Protocol compliance

The performance is being monitored via a continuous cycle of:

- Monthly data reviews

- Formal interim evaluations

- Annual evaluations (2)

What are the Scientific Accomplishments of ACTG Network?

- Involving in new antiretroviral drug development

- Establishing standards for evaluation of combination antiretroviral treatment

- Evaluating pharmacokinetics of novel agents

- Evaluating important drug interactions

- Establishing standard of care for treatment as well as prevention of HIV associated opportunistic diseases

- Establishing standard of care for treatment of HIV associated malignancies

- Evaluating neurologic complications of HIV/AIDS like dementia and sensory neuropathy. (1)

References:

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIDS_Clinical_Trials_Group

(2) https://actgnetwork.org/

About the Author

Tharani Rajamanickam's picture

I am Tharani. I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the healthcare and medical industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with current trends and developments. I have gained a lot of experience in clinical field by working in clinical trials arena. Stay tuned..

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