Kaptur: $1 million federal medical research grant to go to University of Toledo

September 11, 2018
Press Release
Cell research could lead to new, better medicines to treat cancer and heart disease

Toledo, Ohio – Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), today welcomed news that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded nearly $1 million in federal grants to two scientists at The University of Toledo for research projects examining cell behaviors that can lead to the development of better medicines to treat cancer, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disease.

“Once again one of our top-level Ohio universities proves that they are on the cutting edge of medical research and innovation,” said Kaptur. “Northern Ohio is a leader in medical research and these funds build on that foundation of excellence. These researchers are pushing boundaries and working to develop treatments and therapies to help those suffering from chronic illness. The University of Toledo distinguishes itself by competing and winning competitive grant opportunities such as the one announced today. I am pleased to be able to support their efforts to access federal research resources.” 

Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, assistant professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, received $441,323 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to examine the regulation of a crucial group of signaling pathways named G-protein and GPCRs that help the body control functions, including heart rate, and are involved in pathological processes such as cancer and heart disease.

 “Knowledge from our experiments will help develop tissue and organ-specific treatments for a variety of diseases, including cancer, that are less harmful to patients,” Karunarathne said.

Dr. James Slama, professor in the UT Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, received $461,898 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to identify the elusive receptor for nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate, or NAADP, which could lead to the development of inhibitors that may be useful as anti-tumor drugs.

“This project is part of an effort to discover how cells in an organism control their behaviors, and how they respond to changing outside conditions,” Slama said. “Results from our work will aid in the development of anti-cancer and cardiovascular drugs. ”