(Boston) – Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) are partnering with the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) to study tuberculosis (TB). This research is supported by a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the Indo-U.S. Vaccine Action Program (VAP).
The joint program, based in Pondicherry, India, will establish cohorts of TB patients and their household contacts, or people who live in the same household who have been exposed to the disease. This will allow the researchers to determine the impact of co-morbidities, such as smoking, alcoholism, worm infections, diabetes mellitus and malnutrition on the risk of developing TB and patient's response to treatment.
"India accounts for 30 percent of the global burden of TB and is one of the countries with the highest burdens of the disease," said Jerrold Ellner, MD, chief, section of infectious diseases at BMC, professor of medicine at BUSM and U.S. principal investigator. "This study will identify new diagnostic biomarkers that will help determine which, among heavily exposed persons, are at greatest risk of contracting the disease and targets for intervention," he added.
As study participants are identified, questionnaires, surveys and physical examinations will be conducted. Specimens will be collected, stored and compared to control specimens from the same cohort and sent to a specialized laboratory at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where they will be analyzed.
One of the most successful initiatives of the U.S.-India collaboration in the advancement of science and technology, VAP recognizes that vaccines are among the most cost-effective ways to control preventable diseases globally. The goal of the partnership is to develop experience in setting up cohorts of populations at high-risk for developing TB suitable for trials of new vaccines.
About Boston Medical Center
Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 496-bed, academic medical center that is the primary teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. Committed to providing high-quality health care to all, the hospital offers a full spectrum of pediatric and adult care services including primary and family medicine and advanced specialty care with an emphasis on community-based care. Boston Medical Center offers specialized care for complex health problems and is a leading research institution. Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine are partners in the Boston HealthNet – 14 community health centers focused on providing exceptional health care to residents of Boston. For more information, please visit http://www.bmc.org
About Boston University School of Medicine
Originally established in 1848 as the New England Female Medical College, and incorporated into Boston University in 1873, Boston University School of Medicine today is a leading academic medical center with an enrollment of more than 700 medical students and more than 800 masters and PhD students. Its 1,246 full and part-time faculty members generated more than $335 million in funding in the 2009-2010 academic year for research in amyloidosis, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious disease, pulmonary disease and dermatology among others. The School is affiliated with Boston Medical Center, its principal teaching hospital, the Boston and Bedford Veterans Administration Medical Centers and 16 other regional hospitals as well as the Boston HealthNet.
About Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research
Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research originated as École de Médicine de Pondichérry established by the French Government in 1823. This medical school was converted into Dhanvantari Medical College at the time of de facto transfer of Pondicherry to Government of India. This Medical College was later upgraded into Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER).
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