Navigation Links
K-State specialist in tick-borne pathogens receives $1.8 million grant
Date:12/7/2007

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- Roman Ganta, a professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at Kansas State University, has been awarded a grant of $1,825,000 by the National Institutes of Health to figure out how to stop the tick-borne bacteria, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, from making animals and people sick.

This is the second grant of roughly the same size Ganta has received for this research.

Ehrlichia chaffeensis affects people and animals primarily in the southeastern and south central regions of the U.S. It is transmitted by the lone star tick. The resulting sickness, termed Ehrlichiosis, is hard to diagnose because its symptoms' similarities with other, more minor infections. Symptoms include headache, fever, malaise and muscle aches. For those with compromised immune systems, the bacterial infection could be fatal.

Though very few cases are reported -- around 1,500 since the Centers for Disease Control deemed it a disease of concern in the late 1980s -- Ganta estimates that as many as 50,000 people have actually contracted ehrlichia chaffeensis. Though relative to the nation's population that doesn't seem significant, the ensuing infection and symptoms can be serious, especially if untreated. As many as half of the patients diagnosed with ehrlichiosis require hospitalization.

This particular tick-borne pathogen is also unique because it circumvents the initial defenses of the immune system of the animal or human the tick bites, according to Ganta.

When bacteria enters the mammalian body the response is typically the same: the bacteria multiply and the immune system gears up, sending out its own organisms -- cells derived from white blood cells called macrophages -- to seek out and destroy the offender.

The average, healthy immune system can clear the body of most bacterial infections. But ehrlichia chaffeensis gets past that first line of defense, making the infection persist and the subsequent illness difficult to get rid of.

"It's like the enemy entering into a battlefield and knowing exactly where the landmines are and diffusing them all," Ganta said.

Over the last five years, Ganta's research team has been working under a prior federal grant, also from the National Institutes of Health, to uncover exactly how the bacteria works. They recreated the bacteria using cells from mice and from ticks. The current study revealed that the tick cells are what made the difference, and that the tick's ecology changes the bacteria by adding proteins, enabling bacteria to slip by the immune system.

"Understanding the molecular basis for persistence by these bacteria has been critical in developing effective methods to control this and other tick-borne pathogens," Ganta said. "Our research is focused on understanding the pathogen evasion mechanisms, and then using those to defeat it."

The trick now is to learn how to turn those proteins off, leaving the bacteria vulnerable, Ganta said. That's the research his new grant will fund.

Ganta said that tick-borne pathogens like ehrlichia chaffeensis have long been recognized as a persistent concern for the health of several companion animals and livestock. The number of cases in humans has also risen in recent years, increasing the threat to public health.

The hope is that once Ganta comes up with a way to fight off the bacteria, that will pave the way for solutions to other forms of ehrlichia, some of which are devastating for cattle and other food animals.

The $1,825,000 grant is for five years of study at $365,000 a year.


'/>"/>

Contact: Roman Ganta
rganta@k-state.edu
785-532-4612
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. K-State Veterinary Lab routinely tests for bluetongue virus
2. K-State chemistry professor to receive Masao Horiba award
3. K-State sociologists use Department of Energy grant
4. K-State researchers findings on E. coli
5. Corporate Safe Specialists Announces Additions to R&D Team
6. Understanding, combating foodborne pathogens E. coli 0157 and salmonella
7. New magnetic separation technique might detect multiple pathogens at once
8. New system would use rotating magnetic field to detect pathogens
9. Rutgers Genetics receives $7.8 million for autism research
10. Herr receives Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment
11. UCI receives $5M from Edwards Lifesciences
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017  EyeLock LLC, a leader of ... elite iris biometric solution on the latest Qualcomm® ... at Mobile World Congress 2017 (February 27 ... in Hall 3, Stand 3E10. ... Haven™ security platform—a combination of hardware, software ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017  IBM ... Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature Hospice, Home ... that will apply the power of IBM cognitive computing ... health centers. By analyzing data streaming from sensors in ... physical and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper learnings into ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Feb. 16, 2017  Genos, a community for ... it has received Laboratory Accreditation from the College ... presented to laboratories that meet stringent requirements around ... rigorous processes. "Genos is committed to ... practices. We,re honored to be receiving CAP accreditation," ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... BellBrook Labs is ... include an array of biochemical analyses critical for Lead Discovery. The company’s ... and SAR programs, including inhibitor potency and selectivity, mechanism of action, and inhibitor ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Feb. 23, 2017  MIODx announced today that ... key immunotherapy technologies from the University of California, ... method to monitor a patient for response to ... CTLA-4.  The second license extends the technology with ... likely to have an immune-related adverse event (IRAE) ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 2017  Seattle,s upscale Capitol Hill neighborhood, with its swanky shops, ... a head lice treatment salon to set up shop. But ... and a French bistro on E Madison Ave, and CEO ... any old lice clinic, we pride ourselves on being a ... some of the stigma associated with lice. Everyone can get ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... Brain Sentinel, Inc. has received ... SPEAC® System, the Brain Sentinel® Seizure Monitoring and Alerting System. The adjunctive seizure ... periods of rest. A lightweight, non-invasive monitor is placed on the belly of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: