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Case Western Reserve University faculty named 2009 NorTech Innovation Award winner

NorTech, in partnership with Crain's Cleveland Business, today presented a 2009 NorTech Innovation Award to Eric J. Arts, Ph.D., for his development of a Biotech Platform to Detect, Monitor, and Treat Viral Diseases. Dr. Arts and his research team developed a set of diagnostic tests used by physicians and researchers to monitor the success of anti-HIV treatment by determining drug resistance and disease "strength" of the virus. The technology can also be used in academic research to better understand HIV/AIDS and to develop vaccines. Dr. Arts is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He is also Director of the Uganda Laboratory Core for the Case Western Reserve University Center for Aids Research.

"It is an honor to receive the prestigious NorTech Innovation Award," said Dr. Arts. "My team and I appreciate this recognition of our decades of work and commitment to advancing the treatment and quality of life for patients with HIV/AIDS."

Dr. Arts is highly respected by his peers in the field of infectious disease. His research found that the heterogeneity of HIV type 1 has a significant impact on viral fitness, disease progression in the patient, emergence of drug resistance, and development of an effective vaccine. Although encompassing a broad range of topics, all of his research projects are related to HIV type 1 genetic diversity.

"Dr. Arts and his laboratory are a source of great pride for the School of Medicine. Their work is an excellent example of our institution's focus on translational research which ultimately results in improved care for patients," said Pamela B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D., Dean, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University. "We look forward to this technology's next generation of testing for conditions, such as hepatitis C, and the development of real-time influenza vaccines based on a season's dominant virus strains."

"Since 2000, NorTech has been recognizing technology leaders working at the forefront of research, development, and technology commercialization in Northeast Ohio," said Dorothy C. Baunach, President and CEO, of NorTech. "We believe the innovations being recognized today will lay the groundwork for building new technology industries for the future of our region."

Earlier this month, Case Western Reserve University and Diagnostic HYBRIDS Inc. signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement granting Diagnostic HYBRIDS rights to a novel yeast-based virus cloning technology invented by Dr. Arts. His technology is a step towards personalizing medicine based on the needs of each patient. In this case, physicians can use this assay to determine the effectiveness of a patient's anti-HIV medication. Compared with existing drug-resistance technology, Dr. Arts' technology is more sensitive, inexpensive, and provides better analysis of the body's response to medication.


Contact: Jessica Studeny
Case Western Reserve University

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