CAMs are used for the prevention and treatment of infectious and inflammatory diseases, though for many of these CAMs, their true efficacy and the molecular basis for their purported benefits have not been defined and/or confirmed. We propose a new Center of Excellence for Research on CAMs (CERC) focused on the study of the mechanisms of action of diverse CAMs in models of pulmonary and intestinal infectious disease. Since in many instances the resulting inflammatory response associated with infection in the lung and intestinal track accounts for the actual pathology in the disease, we also intend to expand ongoing efforts in using CAMs to minimize inflammation induced tissue damage. The ultimate goal of this CERC is to provide critical insight into the mechanisms of action of select CAMs that can be used as countermeasures against emerging and select agents that infect the pulmonary and intestinal mucosa. This Center brings together scientists with expertise in bacterial and viral diseases of the lung and intestinal tract, study of CAM effects on innate leukocytes and epithelial cells, purification of defined agonists from crude plant extracts, use of probiotic CAMs, and use of rodent models of infectious and inflammatory disease to define specific mechanisms of action. This Center will also take advantage of new BSL-3 facilities to study the impact of CAMs on select agents. The CERC will initially be focused on three distinct projects, which will be supported by two Cores: Administrative (Core A) and Animal Model (Core B). The three Research Projects are: Project 1) CAMs that enhance ??T cell function, Project Leader, Mark Jutila, Ph.D.;Project 2) Anti-viral CAMs, Project Leader, Dr. Michele Hardy, Ph.D.;and Project 3) Anti-inflammatory microbial CAMs and arthritis, Project Leader, Dr. David Pascual, Ph.D. The Animal Models Core will serve as a unique and highly interactive resource, facilitating synergy and collaboration between the three research projects.
CAMs are widely used by the public to treat a variety of ailments, however, in many instances their true efficacy, safety and specific mechanisms of action are unknown. This proposed CERC provides a unique focus on mechanistic studies of CAMs that counter infectious and inflammatory disease. It directly addresses the goals of the NCCAM, and will provide important new information relevant to the use of CAMs by the public.
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