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REMEDI Researcher Awarded Funding for SFI/Industry Biomedical Research Project

May 13th 2011

Professor Rhodri Ceredig of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) was among five awardees funded under an innovative new research programme funded by the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science and Technology (COSAT) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) this week.

The research projects, all in the biomedical sphere, were launched by the Minister for Research and Innovation Mr Sean Sherlock TD.

The Healthcare Innovation Programme Award (HIPA), which was established by SFI with the support of COSAT, is aimed at encouraging biomedical exploration in the specific areas of immune-modulated inflammatory diseases, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, graft-vs-host disease, psoriasis, lung disease, renal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Speaking about the significance of the programme, Minister Sherlock said “Given that inflammatory disorders are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, there is now an urgency in expediting the discovery of novel therapeutic targets in inflammation, in developing new treatment approaches and in moving to translate these developments to clinical applications.” The Minister added “ This timely partnership identifies Irish-based researchers who will help accelerate the translation of basic research into therapies useful in the treatment of inflammatory diseases”

Professor Ceredig in collaboration with Professor Benjamin Bradley of the Institute of Technology, Tralee will conduct a drug discovery program using by-products obtained from processing of natural materials.  Some of these products have been shown to have immune-modulatory activity. Using a screening assay whereby whole blood is incubated in the presence of these materials, the funds will be used to identify novel immune-modulatory drugs from these natural sources. There are so many examples where novel drugs, such as aspirin and penicillin have been discovered from natural sources. Speaking about the award, Professor Ceredig said “We are honoured to receive this prestigious award for a collaborative venture between NUI Galway and the Institute of Technology, Tralee. We are hopeful that this form of collaboration will result in the discovery and development of novel therapies for immune and inflammatory diseases.”