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UTHSC NIH GRANT TO PROBE THE EFFECT OF HEPATITIS C ON AFRICAN-AMERICANS
Memphis, Tennessee (October 7, 2005) – The University of Tennessee Health Science Center recently received a five-year $3.2 million grant as one of eight National Institutes of Health (NIH) Cooperative Research Centers. The grant, which funds multiple projects and investigators directed at a common health problem, will focus on hepatitis C.
for the grant, Tony Marion, PhD, professor in the Department of Molecular
Sciences, is also the project leader on one aspect of the research: To
understand the reason for the poor immune response to hepatitis C virus in
chronically infected patients, particularly African-Americans. Lawrence Pfeffer, PhD, Muirhead Professor
in the Department of Pathology and interim deputy director at the UT Cancer Institute, is project leader to determine why
African-Americans are particularly unresponsive to therapy.
“Among the three
million Americans currently infected with the hepatitis C virus, 85% become
chronically infected. The rate of
infection is much higher among African-Americans and their response rate to
current therapy is much lower than Caucasians.
The net effect is that chronic hepatitis C has become a serious health
“Our goal is threefold,: 1) to better understand the disease, 2) to develop an effective vaccine to prevent future infection in uninfected individuals, and 3) to develop more effective therapies for treatment of currently infected individuals,” Dr. Pfeffer commented.
The UTHSC Hepatitis C Cooperative Research Center was originally initiated and directed by Caroline Riely, MD, recently retired professor and hepatologist in the Department of Gastroenterology, with an earlier Cooperative Center Grant from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Marion earned his doctorate in immunology from the
This study quantifies the economic impact of the UTHSC on the economy of the state of Tennessee for FY2010.
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