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LSUHSC'S OCHOA 1 of 10 chosen by NIH director for Transformative Research Award
Date:10/1/2013

New Orleans, LA Dr. Augusto Ochoa, Director of the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center and Al Copeland/Cancer Crusaders Chair in Neuroendocrine Cancer at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has been selected as one of ten recipients nationally of the 2013 National Institutes of Health Transformative Research Award. Awarded by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, the award comes with a $2.5 million grant over five years to LSUHSC to support the development of new treatments for severe viral diseases, including herpes infections, pandemic influenza and cancers caused viruses, by manipulating how the immune system responds to severe viral and inflammatory infections.

According to the NIH, the NIH Director's Transformative Research Award initiative was created specifically to support exceptionally innovative, groundbreaking, high risk, original, and/or unconventional research projects that have the potential to create or overturn fundamental scientific paradigms. Funded by the NIH Common Fund, projects must clearly demonstrate potential to produce a major impact in a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research. The other recipients are from such places as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. Dr. Ochoa is the only recipient in Louisiana.

Severe viral diseases, such as infections of the eye and brain caused by herpes viruses, influenza, and certain cancers, are caused by a combination of direct initial damage to the cells by the virus and damage from severe and chronic inflammation resulting from the body's fight against the infection. These diseases are difficult to treat and can cause long-lasting complications, disabilities, and sometimes even death.

Preliminary LSUHSC research on Herpes keratitis, a severe eye infection caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) and the most frequent cause of blindness by a infectious agent in developed countries, shows great promise. The LSUHSC research team discovered that a substance produced by the immune system not o
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Contact: Leslie Capo
lcapo@lsuhsc.edu
504-568-4806
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Source:Eurekalert

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