University of South Carolina

USC lands $10.1 million NIH grant to study inflammation, establish center

By Steven Powell, spowell2@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-1923

The University of South Carolina has been awarded a $10.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a new national center for research on the use of dietary supplements to treat inflammation.

Inflammation is a double-edged sword. Although essential for helping tissues recover from infection and injuries, it's also a common thread woven through the origin and development of nearly every malady – from stroke to cancer to allergies to heart attacks.

"The immune response is there to protect you against infection, but we now know that lingering, low-grade inflammation is a serious problem," said Prakash Nagarkatti, Carolina Distinguished Professor and USC's vice president for research. "It can lead to cancer, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart attacks and Alzheimer's. Almost all of the clinical disorders are, in some way or another, connected to inflammation."

Over the past several years, work at USC, supported by a $6 million grant from NIH, has identified the underlying mechanisms by which a range of dietary supplements reduce inflammation.

“This research has paved the way to obtain additional support from NIH that is aimed at preventing and treating chronic inflammation,” said Nagarkatti, who will serve as director of the new center. "We believe that achieving that could completely revolutionize the treatment and prevention of clinical disorders."

The Center for Dietary Supplements and Inflammation, funded by a $10.1 million, five-year grant through the NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program, will be housed at the USC School of Medicine in Columbia.

The interdisciplinary center will be co-directed by Mitzi Nagarkatti, chair of the department of pathology, microbiology and immunology at the School of Medicine. 

The center will help in the recruitment and training of at least 16 faculty members. Its faculty researchers will encompass many schools and colleges, including the School of Medicine, the Arnold School of Public Health, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering and Computing, the College of Pharmacy and the College of Nursing.

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Posted: 08/15/12 @ 1:15 PM | Updated: 08/15/12 @ 1:25 PM | Permalink