iMy introduction to Let There Be Hope (LTBH) and its outstanding research was through Dr. Michael Scalaro. Working as a physician in the Greater Los Angeles area I had the privilege to work directly and indirectly with Dr Scalaro through patient care. As I began to find out more about LTBH and the organizations efforts to develop treatments for infectious diseases and cancer I began participating in fund raising and public awareness. I had the honor of being asked to be a Board Member some years later and have continued to lend support whenever possible. Although my time with the organization is limited, as I have been working out of the country for the past seven years, I know this very dedicated group of individuals will continue to expend exceptional energy for these medical breakthroughs.
For seventeen years I have watched Doctor Scolaro and his amazing group of scientists work toward ending the AIDS pandemic. The scientists involved have completely committed their lives to this end. Most recently they have been working on a treatment that attacks the HIV reservoirs, stopping the disease before it can spread. Success here could really mean an end to AIDS. This dedicated group has been working continually over this period, regardless of whether or not there was proper funding. The cost /benefit ratio of this group is like no other I have ever seen. There is virtually no overhead with every dollar going into actual research. The money they require to take the next steps through human clinical trials are extremely small when compared to the promise which they offer. I look forward to the end of this terrible disease in my lifetime and I believe that Let There Be Hope will very possibly be the organization that is finally able to achieve this goal.
I have had HIV for over twenty-seven years, and maybe longer than that. And back in the early nineties, when I had given up on therapies, and I had my partner was dying, I went to Let There Be Hope in a last ditch effort to keep us both alive. Mark had already been sent home from the hospital, having exhausted conventional medical attention, and was expected to live only a month to six weeks. I was in much better shape, having never had an opportunistic infection, but my T-cells were dangerously low.
Dr. Scolaro used the resources of Let There Be Hope to find an alternative therapy developed in Russia to help keep my partner alive for almost another years. With me, he applied to mix and match the different HIV medicines, some of which had only just been approved, insisting that the virus was probably mutating to fast for any one or two prescribed therapies to do the job of lower HIV to acceptable levels.
This therapeutic approach, known now as "the cocktail," is the recognized treatment for AIDS around the world; at the time, it was controversial. But Dr. Scolaro's insistence on keeping voluminous scientific records covering his clinical applications helped prove to other doctors that Let There Be Hope was saving lives, and led many others to follow his example.
Let There Be Hope's efforts did not stop with treatment; we have always been looking for a cure. And a way to rebuild the immune system. The thought behind this search was that whatever we discovered through research could be applied, perhaps, to other viruses (which are presently much harder to restrain than bacteria). For example, we know the thymus plays a critical role in maintaining the immune system, and that HIV attacks it, so why not consider thymus transplants? We worked very hard on this and lots and lots of other ideas, many of which could still have applications today.
Let There Be Hope specialized in salvage cases, and expanded its reach to include other "incurable" illnesses, which, in reality, are only sicknesses for which we have yet to find a cure. Some of these maladies, like Parkinsons, are only poorly understood. Sometimes, even today, patients are largely left to shift for themselves. Let There Be Hope has always put a great emphasis on explaining to patients everything that can be known about their individual diseases, and helping them obtain something more than comfort.
Patients were not charged by Let There Be Hope for anything. One hundred percent of Let There Be Hope's budget went to care and research.
This is a great organization trying desperately to save lives. i have been involved with LTBH and DR Scolaro for at least fifteen years, and they are the largest reason why my dearest friend is winning the fight with HIV.
Dr. Michael Scolaro is a man of vision and passion. He has taken a career in cutting edge medicine and research and continues on his quest to erradicate the resevoirs of HIV that modern medicine still has yet to reach. The current treatment is suppression, thus slowing progression of this pandenmic disease. LetThereBeHope is working on methods to complete erradicate the virus completely, giving a new life to those that are affected by this condition. I fully applaud Dr. Scolaro and his organization and have faith that he will achieve his goal of changing history with this fascinating research.