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Baylor Research Institute Receives Multi-Million Dollar Grant To Develop Flu Vaccine
Date:5/13/2009

NIH Grant will also Fund Research of Advanced Technologies for Early Disease Detection

DALLAS, May 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Scientists at Baylor Institute for Immunology Research (BIIR) in Dallas, part of Baylor Research Institute (BRI) and the Baylor Health Care System, announced today that they received a renewal of a multi-million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to design new vaccines to prevent influenza - including swine flu (H1N1). The grant will also help BRI develop advanced technologies that could be used for early detection of many other diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases.

This research has been supported for the past six years by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a department of the NIH. The original grant, received in 2003, totaled $16.5 million and has just been renewed by the NIAID for another five years at close to $14 million.

"We have made great progress over the past six years because of this grant. We now know that certain types of immune system cells are better for inducing immunity to the flu. We also know how to target them with molecules that we have developed at BRI," says Jacques Banchereau, Ph.D., director, Baylor Institute for Immunology Research. "With the new funding from the NIAID, we plan to further characterize our targeting molecules and continue to measure the immune response to the flu. This will prepare us for a clinical trial to test our new vaccine."

Additionally, BRI scientists have applied for a supplement to the grant that would allow them to specifically make a vaccine against swine flu. It would also fund studies researching how swine flu affects the immune systems of patients.

"There is serious concern throughout the world health communities about the dangers of emerging infectious diseases, like this new flu str
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SOURCE Baylor Health Care System
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