Make way NIH, here comes the ARI. The new AIDS Research Institute is the largest AIDS initiative outside of the National Institutes of Health. Calling for a unified and multidisciplinary approach to AIDS research, the University of California San Francisco inaugurated the ambitious "institute without walls" last World AIDS Day, bringing together all existing UCSF AIDS programs under a single umbrella. ARI director Dr. Thomas Coates said the institute plans to pool some 1,000 researchers from scientific streams near and far because "the next generation of answers requires a deeper level of collaboration." The ARI will support a range of initiatives including vaccine research, development of new therapies, prevention science and AIDS policy.

One of its first, the HIV Breakthrough Project, is summoning scientists from a variety of fields to tackle the phenomenon of protease failure. First requested from AIDS activists, the study is examining how protease inhibitors are absorbed and metabolized, as well as the role of drug resistance and viral mutations. It will also help PWAs find better ways to adhere to difficult drug regimens.