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OMRF anthrax research receives $14.5 million grant extension

The National Institutes of Health awarded the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation a five-year, $14.5 million grant to continue its research into the human immune system’s response to the deadly anthrax bacteria.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: August 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm •  Published: August 12, 2014

Researchers at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation will be able to continue a long-running research project into anthrax after receiving a new federal grant.

The foundation said Tuesday the National Institutes of Health awarded a five-year, $14.5 million grant for research into anthrax and the bacteria’s effects on humans.

For the last 10 years, OMRF scientist Mark Coggeshall and his colleagues have studied the human response to anthrax as part of a federal effort to increase research after anthrax attacks in 2001.

“From the start, our goal has been to gain a better understanding of anthrax, especially its inhalable form,” Coggeshall said in a news release. “By the time a patient seeks medical care, antibiotics become less effective, and the toxin essentially shuts down the immune response.”

OMRF scientists teamed up with researchers at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center to focus on sepsis, the blood poisoning that comes from anthrax exposure.

“We identified the trigger in the bacteria that causes this pathology,” Coggeshall said. “Now we are seeking ways to override or disable it and make it less deadly.”

The new grant covers three projects at OMRF, including parts of the anthrax bacteria that cause inflammation. Other areas are the study of the anthrax vaccine given to U.S. military personnel and the study of human components that contribute to inflammation accompanying bacterial infections.

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