Jumpstarting inventive research with major clinical implications,
- continue developing stem cell therapy promising a cure for hypoparathyroidism, a debilitating disease resulting from inactive hormone function of the parathyroid glands, which primarily affects women;
- design and create the first dual-purpose intravaginal ring for prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections, and unwanted pregnancy;
- create a revolutionary treatment model for uterine serous cancer -- the most lethal endometrial cancer -- that could usher in optimal, "individualized" intervention to improve survival and outcomes.
WHRY's Pilot Project Program funds studies on women's health and gender-specific medicine that demonstrate new approaches to major challenges in women's health and describe a clear path to implementation for clinical or public health benefit.
The reach and productivity of the Pilot Project Program have been expanded this year with the inaugural
"Our Pilot Project Program and Naratil Pioneer studies are just the kind of original, creative projects that we envision -- with tremendous potential for quickly translating findings into significantly improved treatment and prevention options, some of which will be 'personalized' for each patient," said Dr.
The 2014 Pilot Project Program Awardees:
Continuing the Development of Stem Cells for Therapy in Hypoparathyroidism: Thyroid cancer occurs three times more frequently in women than men. Treatment often includes the removal of the thyroid gland, and a common, unavoidable complication of surgery to remove the malignancy is removal of the nearby parathyroid glands, which are critical for calcium balance in the body. Hypoparathyroidism, which results from defects in the parathyroid glands or their removal during surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid, is a devastating disease that primarily affects women. Because patients lack the ability to regulate calcium levels in their blood, they are at risk for irregular heartbeat, debilitating muscle cramps, seizures, and other serious conditions. Treatment typically involves taking calcium, but this can prove very challenging over a long period. Krause's research previously was funded through a WHRY pilot grant to begin development of stem cells that can be transformed into parathyroid cells. This project is to continue the inducement of stem cells to develop into parathyroid cells that would secrete parathyroid hormone to maintain normal calcium balance. Cellular replacement could hold promise for a cure.
Creating a Dual-Purpose Method to Prevent Sexually-Transmitted Infections and Pregnancy: There are currently no adequate methods to protect women from the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Saltzman will design a new intravaginal ring (IVR) for the simultaneous prevention of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy, using materials and methods known to be safe and expected to be acceptable to women. Saltzman brings an extensive biomedical engineering background in developing drug delivery systems using materials such as safe, ultra-tiny nanoparticles and non-toxic polymers. Specifically, he will develop an IVR that will slowly release contraceptive agents embedded within the ring and will also slowly release nanoparticles loaded with drugs to provide sustained protection against sexually transmitted infections.
Such sustained-release formulations have proven difficult or impossible to achieve with other IVR designs. Saltzman aims to overcome this challenge through the use of two independent mechanisms for releasing the different preventive agents, and using specially designed nanoparticles that will safely penetrate tissue and slowly release drugs locally. This new dual prevention method has the potential to significantly reduce the 7,000 new HIV transmissions that occur in women worldwide each day, while simultaneously providing a safe, effective method of contraception.
"Personalized Medicine" for the Most Lethal Endometrial Cancer: Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecological cancer in
Since its inception, WHRY has awarded more than
For more information onWomen's
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