Relationship with NNTC

The National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium (NNTC) was established in 1998 to facilitate access to antemortem and postmortem tissues and fluids (blood, cerebrospinal fluid) for the international neuroAIDS research community. The consortium's goals included establishment of a network of brain banks, collection of nervous system tissues in a standardized fashion, and maximization of the information gleaned from the scientific studies of these tissues. In addition, a goal of the NNTC was to link the experimental and clinical data pertaining to each sample. Four study sites with tissue banks were set up, three of are the same sites and PIs as those that participated in CHARTER (UCSD, Galveston Texas, and Mt. Sinai New York).  All four sites are currently actively recruiting and following-up participants, as well as performing post-mortem assessments and banking biofluids and tissues. Enrollment entails consent for neuromedical and neuropsychological examinations as well as for obtaining the brain soon after death for examination and tissue banking; a focus on individuals with advanced medical disorders facilitates obtaining autopsy specimens. The NNTC collects information on HIV disease severity, CNS and PNS signs and symptoms, comorbid conditions, laboratory values for a range of medical, immunological, and virological parameters, and tissue pathological diagnoses.

The funding for CHARTER activities ended on September 15, 2015. While research funding is being sought for continuing some of the clinical study aspects on the CHARTER participants, the CHARTER resource (database, and data and specimen request management) was transferred to the NNTC DCC, with the specimens themselves remaining in frozen storage at the California NeuroAIDS Tissue Network (CNTN), a participating site of the NNTC. A transition plan was initiated to insure a seamless move. The CHARTER resource management will be integrated into the NNTC and coordinated by the DCC. Database maintenance/curation, processing of investigator resource requests, and other coordinating responsibilities will be transferred from the UCSD to the NNTC-DCC at UNMC and Emmes. All CHARTER documentation will be transferred to the NNTC-DCC. UNMC and Emmes, comprising the NNTC-DCC, will cooperatively act to continue serving clients wishing to make use of the CHARTER resource.

The NNTC and CHARTER studies share some similarities in clinical domains, specimens, and data. The studies also each offer some unique characteristics that distinguish one from the other.

Post-mortem CNS and systemic tissues Pre-mortem fluid samples Pre-mortem Buccal swabs
Post-mortem fluid samples   Pre-mortem RNA, DNA
Neuropathology data Neuropsychology/Neurobehavioral Neuroimaging
  Laboratories and virology