The Center for CAM Research on Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases aims to study the mechanistic basis of preventive and therapeutic modalities developed from plant products against inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune diseases are highly prevalent world-wide. These include arthritis, lupus, autoimmune hepatitis and multiple sclerosis which are mediated primarily by T cells and cause significant chronic disability. In addition, there are also a large number of inflammatory diseases that mimic autoimmune diseases, with unknown etiopathogenesis such as colitis. In the absence of effective medication which can suppress T cells and inflammatory immune response, patients often seek CAM therapy. Thus, the primary goal of the project will be to address 3 specific aims using state-of-the-art technology and an integrated approach which include 1) Studies on ligation of the AhR and ER in the use of resveratrol for the treatment of multiple sclerosis using the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model, 2) Effects of American ginseng as an anti-inflammatory agent in treating colitis and colitis-driven colon cancer. 3) Elucidation of the mechanism(s) underlying cannabidiol-induced apoptosis in therapy of autoimmune hepatitis. Inasmuch as, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases are triggered by multiple factors but exhibit the common pathogenesis of immune cells destroying self-tissues/organs, the efficacy of current treatment regimen include immunosuppressive or anti-inflammatory drugs. Unfortunately, the current drugs in market cause significant toxicity to the immune and cardiovascular systems thereby limiting their use. Thus, CAM herbal therapy or novel compounds derived from plants may provide unique opportunity to treat such diseases. These studies should lead to development of translational research that extends between the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health at USC and the Dorn VA Medical Center. The project will use an Administrative Core and an Immunotoxicology Laboratory Core. The Administrative Core will provide scientific leadership including the External Scientific Advisory Committee, the Internal Advisory Committee and Steering Committee, mentorship to junior faculty, post- and predoctoral trainees as well as oversight on fiscal, personnel, and space issues. The Immunotoxicology Laboratory Core will not only serve as a source of the instrumentation resource for pursuing cutting-edge research on whole animals through single cell imaging to molecular level analysis, along with the technological support, but also perform immunotoxicity testing of the plant products. The university will provide seed funds for developmental projects in CAM and enhance recruitment of junior faculty and trainees. The establishment of this Center will provide an interactive environment for research and training in elucidating the mechanisms underlying action of CAM as well as meet the state and national goals on development of novel approaches to patient care.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1-SM (07))
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Pontzer, Carol H
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University of South Carolina at Columbia
Schools of Medicine
United States
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