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String probes for devastating childhood digestive disease
Date:7/30/2008

planned. The researchers will compare the thread's measures of the eosinophil proteins with the cell counts obtained by endoscopy.

"Eventually, of course, our hope is to replace these repeated endoscopies with this simple procedure," Ackerman said.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (one of the National Institutes of Health), will be done at two sites, UIC and Denver. Ackerman and Furuta are co-principal investigators on the team, which also includes Dr. Amir Kagalwalla of the UIC Department of Pediatrics.

The two other grants are from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the CURED Foundation (Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Diseases).

The AGA awarded Ackerman and Furuta its 2008 translational research award to determine the mechanisms that regulate changes in the esophagus caused by the disease, including the growth of scar tissue. The researchers will use the string test to look for biomarkers of the changes that characterize the disease.

CURED awarded the team an unrestricted gift for research to investigate pathogenic mechanisms in eosinophilic esophagitis and related gastrointestinal diseases. CURED has raised more than $1.4 million over the past five years, most recently as the beneficiary charity of the annual Highland Park (Ill.) High School fund-raising event, which raised $500,000 this year.

The investigators are also planning a proteomics study that will measure all the proteins on the string to develop a more complete diagnostic profile of the disease, Ackerman said.

"These grants present us with an exciting opportunity to increase our understanding of this difficult, newly emerging disease, which has increased in detection, and also possibly in incidence."


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Contact: Jeanne Galatzer-Levy
jgala@uic.edu
312-996-1583
University of Illinois at Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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