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Visionary concept earns La Jolla Institute scientist prestigious NIH Pioneer Award
Date:9/24/2009

ould be treated very early on right after birth-- to prevent the disease from occurring or they could be closely observed (medically) and the moment they start to show signs of autoimmunity, treatment could begin," said Dr. Cheroutre. "This would enable treatment before autoimmunity starts up and gets out of hand. It is so important to stop or control these diseases before too much damage has occurred. They are kind of like cancer, in that once it gets too far along, it takes a huge toll."

Dr. Cheroutre's bold proposal is not her first venture into unconventional thinking. In fact, she is a world renowned expert on mucosal immunity, whose findings over the years have frequently bucked conventional wisdom on the immunology of the intestines or broken new ground in immunology in general. Such was her 2007 discovery that retinoic acid, a vitamin A derivative, can play a critical role in controlling inflammation in the body, which is the chief cause of inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and several other autoimmune diseases. Nature Medicine named it one of the key biomedical research advances of the year. The finding was a departure from current understanding and opened a new frontier in inflammation research.

This, of course, is just the kind of researcher the NIH is looking for with its Pioneer award. The NIH selects the recipients through a special application and evaluation process. Distinguished outside experts identify the most highly competitive applicants. The Advisory Committee to the Director, NIH, performs the second level of review and Dr. Collins makes final decisions based on the outside evaluations and programmatic considerations.

Unlike the predominant form of NIH research grants that require heavy documentation and significant preliminary data, the Pioneer award does not seek pre-existing data from applicants, since they are dealing with novel concepts that have not yet been tested. Instead, the selec
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Contact: Bonnie Ward
contact@liai.org
619-303-3160
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Source:Eurekalert

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