Einstein Researchers Receive Two Grand Challenges Explorations Grants to Combat HIV and Tuberculosis
BRONX, N.Y., Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have been awarded two Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their innovative global health and development research projects. The grant recipients are Arturo Casadevall, M.D., Ph.D., who is working to create a novel vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), and Ekaterina Dadachova, Ph.D., and Joan Berman, Ph.D., for their work on a novel and promising HIV treatment.
Dr. Casadevall, professor and chair of microbiology & immunology and professor of medicine, was named one of the 80 GCE Round 9 winners for his unconventional approach to developing a vaccine for TB. While current TB vaccines are designed to provoke immune cells to attack the bacteria that cause the disease, Dr. Casadevall proposes a different tack - harnessing the tremendous potential of antibodies to kill the invaders and prevent the development of the disease.
Dr. Dadachova, professor of radiology and of microbiology & immunology, and Dr. Berman, professor of pathology and of microbiology & immunology, received a Phase II GCE grant to study whether radioimmunotherapy (RIT) can kill the HIV virus in latently infected cells. In RIT, radioactive isotopes attached to antibodies selectively target and destroy cells. Since current anti-retroviral therapy drugs cannot reach the brain, they will also investigate whether the RIT approach can destroy HIV in the central nervous system. The project, which builds on Dr. Dadachova's earlier GCE research with Dr. Casadevall, is one of only 15 projects that advanced to the next level. Drs. Dadachova and Berman will work in collaboration with Dr. Casadevall, New York University researchers Susan Zolla-Pazner, Ph.D., and Miroslaw Gorny, M.D., Ph.D., and Alfred Morgenstern, Ph.D., and Frank Bruchertseifer, Ph.D., from the Institute of Transuranium Elements in Karlsruhe, Germany, who supply valuable radioisotopes for the project.
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