Dr. Ayers’ research focuses on these areas:
Biospecimen and Biorepositories
Principal Investigator of the AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource (ACSR) and Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN)
The AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource (ACSR) is a tissue and biological fluids bank of HIV-related specimens. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) established the ACSR to encourage and facilitate research in HIV-related malignancies. The ACSR is administered by the NCI Office of HIV and AIDS Malignancy (OHAM). This consortium of universities and hospitals was originally called the AIDS Malignancy Bank (AMB) or AIDS and Cancer Specimen Bank (ACSB).
Malignant and other tissues from HIV-infected patients are needed more than ever to provide opportunities for critical translational research. Translational research focuses on the pathogenesis of AIDS-related malignancies and other human tissue for study. Scientists have the ability to ask and answer more questions than during the early phase of the AIDS epidemic.
The ACSR is a resource of HIV-infected tissues and other specimens for use by qualified investigators to facilitate their research. The ACSR also provides qualified researchers with tissue, cell, blood and fluid specimens, as well as clinical data, from patients with HIV-related malignancies and other HIV diseases.
Principal Investigator of the Sub-Saharan Africa Lymphoma Consortium (SSALC/ACSR)
Participant in NCI clinical trial: Epidemiology of Burkitt Lymphoma in East Africa Children or Minors (EMBLEM)
The SSALC was established to characterize HIV/AIDS-related lymphoma and the indigenous background of lymphomas in sub-Saharan Africa from which these HIV/AIDS-related lymphomas arise. The SSALC plans to provide training in the current World Health Organization (WHO) classification of lymphomas to consortium-participating pathologists from three regions of sub-Saharan Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the origin of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and contains more than twice the number of cases than the rest of the world combined. Yet the increase in cancers such as lymphoma that is associated with the HIV epidemic in Africa has been sparsely documented. A survey of lymphoid neoplasm subtype trends in the United States, 1992-2001, found that subtypes defined by the WHO classification varied in prevalence by whether patients were African, Asian or European in ancestry. Findings suggest there is etiologic heterogeneity in lymphoma, with risk factors and treatment modalities better defined by analysis of subtypes in more homogeneous populations, particularly those phenotypes associated with HIV/AIDS.
Pathologists from 10 African sites representing east, west and south sub-Saharan regions will contribute small tissue cores from 100-200 individual cases for the construction of tissue microarrays (TMA). TMA construction and phenotyping tests will be directed by the participating pathologist and by slides digitized during training in Columbus, Ohio. Specimens from 1,000-2,000 patients will be characterized by the participants consulting with U.S. hematopathologists. Participants in the United States and Africa will exchange information and images using a secure Internet workspace. An expert panel will review and arbitrate difficult or unusual lymphoma phenotypes. Illustrative lymphoma cases will be published in public web pages, and all will be available for review on member private spaces.
The SSALC is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI, Washington, DC) to the Mid-Region AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource (MR-ACSR, Columbus, Ohio).
SSALC members include:
- Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
- University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
- Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya
- Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria
- Institute of Human Virology, Abuja, Nigeria
- University of the Witswatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
- Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Participant in an NCI-Sponsored international consortium (CAMPiT) characterization into sub-classifications of Merkel cell carcinoma
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Columbus, OH 43240