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NIH Conference Begins in Louisville Wednesday

Hundreds of entrepreneurs, researchers and small business owners from across the country will be in Louisville starting tomorrow for a conference focusing on research into health and life sciences.

The National Institutes of Health provides more than $700 million for small businesses to do research and this conference at the downtown Marriott will feature workshops for start-up companies to learn the funding process and access those funds.

University of Louisville Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation Dr. Bill Pierce says the conference will give the university an opportunity to showcase its facilities.

“We are offering tours of some of our laboratories. We’ll have them go to see the Nucleus Research Park, which is coming up out of the ground at the old Haymarket. And we’re telling them this is a great place to be,” he said.

Conference speakers include U of L President James Ramsey, Gov. Steve Beshear and officials from the National Institutes of Health.

The annual NIH Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer conference runs through Friday.

(Information for this story came from the Associated Press)

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NIH Renews Grant For U of L Research

A University of Louisville scientist has been awarded a $2.6 million federal grant to continue his research into treatment of lung injuries caused by exposure chlorine gas.

Dr. Gary Hoyle says the National Institutes of Health is especially interested in the effects of chlorine because of the large amounts of the chemical that are produced and transported in the U.S.

“It’s considered a chemical threat agent either through accidental or intentional release. People potentially could be exposed to toxic levels of the gas,” he said.

Hoyle’s work was initially funded in 2006. He and his team have developed a two-drug combination that will be tested over the next phase of the research.

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Local News Next Louisville

Alzheimer’s Group Calls For More U.S. Funding

The president of the Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association says a sharp increase in federal funding for Alzheimer’s research is needed as the country’s baby boomers become senior citizens.

Teri Shirk says the current National Institutes of Health budget for Alzheimer’s is about $500 million, and should be quadrupled to help scientists find a cure or develop better treatments.

“Unless something significant happens in research, we will go from five million people in the United States with Alzheimer’s to 16 million by mid-century,” she said.

Shirk says as is the case with most non-profits, donations to her chapter have been down, but are starting to show some slow improvement.

President Obama has declared November Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

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Local News

U Of L Receives Grant For Palliative Care

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a 1.5 million dollar grant to the University of Louisville for a new oncology program.

The program focuses on palliative care, which combines medicine, nursing, social work and religious education to provide broad care for cancer patients. Students in each discipline will be required to take new courses in palliative medicine so they can better work together to treat patients.

“Palliative medicine includes, but is not limited to, the traditional view of end-of-life care and hospice work. Palliative care starts the day of cancer diagnosis for all patients, focusing on the alleviation of symptoms in the bio, psychosocial, and spiritual realms,” says U of L Chief Medical Officer Mark Pfeifer. “It meets [patients] at their symptoms, their goals, their worries, their environment, their family. It combines everything, then, from advanced, invasive pharmaceutical procedures, to prayer and music.”

The grant will be paid out over five years as the program is developed.

“For the first year, we’ll be working on specific design details and complex curricular changes for the students. In years two, three, and four, we will implement the new model. And in year five, we will evaluate, refine and disseminate the program,” says Pfeifer.

Pfeifer says some palliative treatments are performed at U of L, but doctors, social workers, nurses and chaplains are not currently required to train together.

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Local News

U of L Gets NIH Award For Autism Study

Researchers at the University of Louisville are getting $900,000 from the National Institutes of Health to continue their clinical study of autism.

U of L neuroscientist Dr. Manuel Casanova says the NIH award will fund a four-year clinical trial that involves the use of a magnetic field to improve brain function and reduce some of the symptoms associated with autism, such as tantrums and repetitive behaviors.

“We are trying to induce current through pathways that are not being properly used in the cortex of patients with autism,” he said.

Dr. Casanova says in the trials, the magnetic stimulation will be paired with a behavior intervention in an effort to help patients better relate to other people.

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Local News

U of L Recieves NIH Grant

From WFPL’s Raj Ahuja

The University of Louisville has received an $11.6 million National Institutes of Health grant for diabetes and obesity research. 

U of L’s principal investigator in the research, Aruni Bhatnagar, says the funds will allow scientists to make more significant advances in their study of the conditions.

 “Until now we’ve been sort of nibbling at the edges.  With this award it will allow us to address the problem head on with significant depth and rigor so we can make an effective contribution to the fundamental understanding of the causes and consequences of diabetes and obesity and to make adifference in the lives of people who are struggling with these conditions,” Bhatnagar said.

Kentucky ranks high nationally in diabetes and obesity rates.