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SRI International Receives $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for Innovative Global Health Research
Date:5/13/2010

that fewer than 60 percent of children in affected areas receive the recommended dose.

To facilitate delivery of vitamin A to children who may not otherwise receive enough of it, SRI researchers will plan to engineer a probiotic bacterium that produces vitamin A for direct delivery to mucosal immune cells in the gastrointestinal tract. If successful, this therapy could restore protective mucosal immunity while simultaneously combating other consequences of vitamin A deficiency, including blindness and susceptibility to measles and malaria. The new therapy, which should reduce the duration of symptoms while also reducing the impact of future infections, could be developed for distribution during clinic visits for the treatment of diarrhea.

"Creative new approaches are urgently needed to combat many global health issues, including deadly diarrheal diseases," said Krishna Kodukula, Ph.D., executive director of SRI's Center for Advanced Drug Research.  "We are hopeful that our idea to use metabolically engineered probiotics will lead to a treatment that will also restore the body's immunity and combat the consequences of vitamin A deficiency. Approaches such as these may also be useful for the development of new remedies against other diarrheal diseases."

"The winners of these grants show the bold thinking we need to tackle some of the world's greatest health challenges," said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Program.  "I'm excited about their ideas and look forward to seeing some of these exploratory projects turn into
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