NIAID awards contracts to search for protein markers of disease

October 09, 2008

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded two five-year contracts to establish Clinical Proteomics Centers for Infectious Diseases and Biodefense. The contracts were awarded to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, and to the Canadian firm Caprion Proteomics, Montreal. Researchers at the centers will analyze human blood and other tissue samples from completed or ongoing clinical studies with the aim of discovering proteins that could serve as biomarkers of infectious disease.

A biomarker is a measurable biological substance that acts as an indicator of either health or disease. One biomarker test now used by doctors is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test for prostate cancer screening. Elevated levels of PSA protein in the blood may signal the presence of cancerous cells in the prostate gland.

Scientists at the new NIAID-funded centers will look for proteins produced either by disease-causing agents or by the immune system in response to infection. "Identifying specific biomarkers that are present in infected people--but absent in uninfected people--would give researchers new leads in understanding how microbes cause disease and how the body reacts to those microbes," says Maureen Beanan, Ph.D., a program officer in NIAID's Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. This, in turn, could guide development of diagnostics, therapies or vaccines, she adds.

The first two diseases to be studied at the new centers will be dengue fever, a viral illness spread by mosquitoes, and brucellosis, a bacterial disease that can cause severe influenza-like symptoms. Once discovered and characterized, any candidate biomarkers found by the centers' scientists will be made freely available to the research community at large for further development.

The centers also will encourage clinical infectious disease researchers from other institutions to submit clinical samples to be assessed for the presence of potential biomarker proteins, notes Dr. Beanan. This service will be provided at no charge to the requestors.

The five-year contract to UTMB is estimated to be up to $10.9 million. The five-year contract to Caprion Proteomics is estimated to be up to $12.9 million.

Besides the new clinical proteomics centers, NIAID has established numerous research resources in the areas of bioinformatics, functional and structural genomics, and gene and protein sequencing. Together, these resources are assisting scientists to better understand interactions between disease-causing organisms and the human immune response. For more information about these resources, see http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/pathogenGenomics.
-end-
NIAID conducts and supports research--at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide--to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)--The Nation's Medical Research Agency--includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at <http://www.niaid.nih.gov>.

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Related Infectious Diseases Articles from Brightsurf:

Understanding the spread of infectious diseases
Physicists at M√ľnster University (Germany) have shown in model simulations that the COVID-19 infection rates decrease significantly through social distancing.

Forecasting elections with a model of infectious diseases
Election forecasting is an innately challenging endeavor, with results that can be difficult to interpret and may leave many questions unanswered after close races unfold.

COVID-19 a reminder of the challenge of emerging infectious diseases
The emergence and rapid increase in cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, pose complex challenges to the global public health, research and medical communities, write federal scientists from NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Certain antidepressants could provide treatment for multiple infectious diseases
Some antidepressants could potentially be used to treat a wide range of diseases caused by bacteria living within cells, according to work by researchers in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and collaborators at other institutions.

Opioid epidemic is increasing rates of some infectious diseases
The US faces a public health crisis as the opioid epidemic fuels growing rates of certain infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, heart infections, and skin and soft tissue infections.

Infectious diseases could be diagnosed with smartphones in sub-Saharan Africa
A new Imperial-led review has outlined how health workers could use existing phones to predict and curb the spread of infectious diseases.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Experts warn of a surge in vector-borne diseases as humanitarian crisis in Venezuela worsens
The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is accelerating the re-emergence of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, Chagas disease, dengue, and Zika virus, and threatens to jeopardize public health gains in the country over the past two decades, warn leading public health experts.

Glow-in-the-dark paper as a rapid test for infectious diseases
Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) and Keio University (Japan) present a practicable and reliable way to test for infectious diseases.

Math shows how human behavior spreads infectious diseases
Mathematics can help public health workers better understand and influence human behaviors that lead to the spread of infectious disease, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

Many Americans say infectious and emerging diseases in other countries will threaten the US
An overwhelming majority of Americans (95%) think infectious and emerging diseases facing other countries will pose a 'major' or 'minor' threat to the U.S. in the next few years, but more than half (61%) say they are confident the federal government can prevent a major infectious disease outbreak in the US, according to a new national public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America and the American Society for Microbiology.

Read More: Infectious Diseases News and Infectious Diseases Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.