TGen and Biodesign land $8.9 million NIH grant

September 27, 2005

By hammersmith

Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and the Translational Genomics Research Institute have received $8.9 million in federal grants to research methods of screening radiation victims in the event of a terrorist attack.

The grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health, add the talents of Biodesign and TGen to a multi-institution research consortium called the Center for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation. Columbia University will lead the network of institutions, which is charged with developing countermeasures to “dirty bombs” or other attacks involving radioactive materials.

The grant is the first-ever federal award to include a university-led product development core to measure radiation exposure. Frederic Zenhausern, director of the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied NanoBioscience, will lead a team of experts to coordinate all aspects of product development.

ASU will receive $5.9 million over the next five years to work on minimally invasive devices and techniques that can rapidly distinguish individuals who need therapy from those who do not. The technology will also be able to measure exposure at various stages, including during treatment and recovery.

For its part, TGen will accept $3 million over the next five years. TGen President Jeffrey Trent and senior investigator Michael Bittner, who worked together on “biosignatures” of radiation response while at the National Institutes for Health, will use mathematical tools to identify genes that respond to radiation.

“The ability to rapidly analyze an individual’s genetic signature of radiation exposure levels could be remarkably important in triaging patients,” Trent said.

The consortium includes Harvard’s School of Public Health; the National Cancer Institute, Sionex Corp., a Boston-area developer of sensor chips and systems; and the City of New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

ASU’s grant is the second largest that the Biodesign Institute has received.

For more information:

ASU, TGen win major grant to design device,” Arizona Republic, 9/26/2005

Biodesign Institute and TGen awarded grants to help lessen threat of radiological terrorist event,” TGen Press Release