Health in brief: UT Health Northeast researchers get grants; Medical Outreach returns to Van

Published on Saturday, 10 May 2014 18:16 - Written by

2 UT Health Northeast biomedical faculty members receive grants

Two biomedical researchers at UT Health Northeast recently received grants to support their investigations of deadly lung conditions.

Dr. Sreerama Shetty, Ph.D., received a two-year, $140,000 grant from the American Heart Association (AHA), and Dr. Usha Pendurthi, Ph.D., was awarded a two-year, $100,000 grant from the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF).

The AHA grant enables Shetty to study how the body’s system to break up blood clots affects lung injury and the resulting scarring, called pulmonary fibrosis. His goal is to understand the biological mechanism behind lung injury and repair.

Each year, about 50,000 new cases of pulmonary fibrosis are diagnosed in the United States, and some 40,000 people die from it, according to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. There is no cure and current treatments are not very effective.

Shetty and his team hope their research will lead to better ways to protect the lungs from injury and prevent scar tissue from forming.

With the MARF grant, Dr. Pendurthi will explore how an anti-clotting protein may help stifle the development of malignant pleural mesothelioma, a highly aggressive cancer that attacks the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall.

Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of pleural mesothelioma, though the disease often doesn’t develop until 30 or 40 years after the exposure occurred. Current treatment includes radiation or chemotherapy and/or surgery, but there is no cure.

Previous studies by Dr. Pendurthi’s team have shown that curbing inflammation with an anti-clotting protein reduced mesothelioma cells’ ability to become tumors. The MARF grant will support the researchers’ efforts to further understand how this process works.

Medical Outreach returns to rural East Texas

Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, announced the return of the East Texas Medical Outreach June 2 to 6 at Van Junior High School following a successful first run last year. This event offers free preventative and primary care to uninsured East Texans. Licensed physicians and nurses will be on site 12 hours each day to administer multiple screenings, perform physicals and advise healthy lifestyle choices, such as healthy eating and not smoking.

Services include:

Medical exams

Health screenings (blood pressure, BMI, blood sugar, cholesterol)

Dental exams

Student physicals

Hearing tests

Mental health services

Immunizations (records required)

Mammography services

In addition to Van ISD, partners for the outreach include the University of Texas at Tyler School of Nursing, UT Health Northeast Family Medicine Residency Program, NET Health, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Military Forces, Piney Woods Regional Advisory Council Trauma Service Area-G, Texas A&M University, Baylor College of Dentistry, Andrews Center, Tyler Junior College and other local community organizations.

IF YOU GO:  

What:

WHEN: 8 a.m. daily, June 2 to 6

Where: Van Junior High School, 630 S. Oak St., Van

Information: 1-877-340-8842