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$1.5M grant funds research aimed at reducing strokes in children with sickle cell disease
Date:9/30/2010

A researcher from the biomedical engineering department operated by Georgia Tech and Emory University has received a $1.5 million NIH Director's New Innovator Award to support a project aimed at reducing the incidence of stroke in children with sickle cell disease. Manu Platt, an assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to develop models for identifying which children with the disease are at risk for stroke.

The first case of sickle cell disease was identified in 1910 and today it affects more than 70,000 Americans. It is seen mostly in persons of African descent, but also in individuals of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Central and South American, and Asian Indian heritage. Approximately 10 percent of children with sickle cell disease suffer a stroke. Having experienced one stroke, they are at high risk of having another.

"Current therapies to prevent strokes in children with sickle cell disease have substantial side effects, so we need to create better ways to predict which patients need intervention," said Platt, who is also a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar. "My goal is to use experimental and clinical data to develop a mathematical model for predicting stroke risk in pediatric patients with sickle cell disease to allow for earlier intervention."

Now in its fourth year, the 2010 NIH Director's New Innovator Awards will support 52 exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative projects that have the potential for unusually high impact.

"NIH is pleased to be supporting early-stage investigators from across the country who are taking considered risks in a wide range of areas in order to accelerate research," said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health. "We look forward to the results of their work."

Platt's research project will
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Contact: Abby Vogel Robinson
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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