August 30, 2016
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NIH issues $9.7 million renewal grant for research on innate immunity in Crohn's disease

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The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the NIH has awarded Case Western Reserve researchers with a 5-year renewal program project grant totaling $9.7 million for continuing research on the role of intestinal innate immunity in Crohn’s disease, according to a press release.

The renewal project, led by Fabio Cominelli, MD, PhD, a professor in the departments of medicine and pathology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and director of Case’s Digestive Health Research Institute, will build on previous research in mice, which suggests that Crohn’s disease may be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and a poorly regulated innate immune response against unknown antigens.

“Before and during the first 5-year project, my colleagues and I provided evidence of the importance of innate immunity and the role of what’s called the NOD2 gene,” Cominelli said in the press release. “This gene supplies instructions for making a protein that helps protect the body against foreign invaders in a disease called ileitis.”

The multidisciplinary renewal project will involve three separate projects that will examine the relationship between the gut microbiome and the NOD2, NOD1, IL-1 and IL-33 genes.

“We are extremely grateful to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for their continued confidence in us,” Cominelli said in the press release. “My colleagues and I are committed to translating our research into new medications and treatments that will rectify the gaps in the immune systems of patients with Crohn’s disease, ultimately resulting in a cure.”