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University of Maryland Schools of Dentistry and Medicine receive NIH grant
Date:7/29/2014

The University of Maryland Schools of Dentistry (UM SOD) and Medicine (UM SOM) jointly announced today that they have received a five-year $10.7 million grant award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health to study the causes, prevention and treatment of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). The grant, which renews a previous $12 million five-year NIAID-funded research program, represents a new direction for the research by studying chlamydial and gonorrheal diseases as the outcome of complex interactions between the host genetics, the urogenital polymicrobial microbiome, and the pathogen's unique genetics. By applying modern "omics" technology, the study aims at identifying novel molecular "biomarkers" of susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), ensuing disease severity, and conversely protection from STIs and STDs. Biomarkers can be measured in the body (or its products) as a means to predict and potentially influence pathways related to disease. They may reveal mechanisms of infection or disease that can be exploited as therapeutic or diagnostic targets.

The long-term goal of the research is to develop strategies and the means to reduce the incidence of STIs and STDs worldwide - particularly chlamydia (caused by Chlamydia trachomatis) and gonorrhea (caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, also known as the gonococcus). Chlamydial genital infections are the most common bacterial infectious disease in America, with 2.8 million cases estimated annually. Gonorrhea is estimated at 820,000 infections in America each year. These infections together cause most of the 750,000 cases of pelvic inflammatory disease seen each year in the United States. Pelvic inflammatory disease, in turn, is a leading cause of female infertility and life-threatening conditions in women such as ectopic pregnancy.

"This grant is particularly significant because it is the first time that a comprehensive s
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Contact: Christopher Hardwick
chardwick@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-5260
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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