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Crain's Cleveland Business Top Story: Neurosurgery researchers at University Hospitals, Case receive three multimillion-dollar grants

Date Released: 7 December 2015

Neurosurgery researchers studying Parkinson's disease, stroke and brain cancer at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center have received three, multimillion-dollar grants from the National Institutes of Health.

NIH awarded a $1 million grant to Dr. Barry J. Hoffer, adjunct professor of neurosurgery at CWRU and member of the Department of Neurosurgery at UH Case Medical Center.

The three-year grant will support Hoffer and his colleagues as they continue their research into gliptins for treating Parkinson's disease. Gliptins, which are widely used to treat type 2 diabetes to regulate blood glucose levels, have also been found to provide neurological protection in Parkinson's, according to a news release.

"Our research is part of an effort to find new strategies to protect nerve cells involved and to at least slow if not stop the degenerative process,” Hoffer said in a statement.

His co-investigator on the grant is Yu (Agnes) Luo and Xin Qi from the Department of Physiology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and Michael Zigmond at the University of Pittsburgh.

Luo, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at CWRU School of Medicine and in the neurosurgery department at UH Case Medical Center, is the principal investigator on a second five-year NIH grant, totaling $1.7 million, with co-investigators Hoffer and Dr. Nicholas Bambakidis, professor of neurosurgery and director of Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Surgery at UH Case Medical Center.

The team will investigate new ways to regenerate stem cells already in the brain to heal the brain after a stroke.

"The regeneration of the brain after damage is still active days, or even weeks after stroke occurs, which might provide a second window for treatment,” Luo said in a statement.

Eli Bar, assistant professor of neurosurgery at CWRU and in the neurosurgery department at UH Case Medical Center, received a five-year, $1.8 million grant from NIH to research why brain tumor stem cells are resistant to conventional therapy.

Bar and co-investigator Dr. Andrew Sloan, director of the Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center at UH Case Medical Center, had been independently researching the role of certain molecules in the brain surrounding tumors before Sloan recruited Bar to CWRU and UH.

“We hope that the results of this study will lead directly to better treatment of patients with these deadly tumors,” Bar said in a statement.

 

Crain's Cleveland Business Article: http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20151207/NEWS/151209837/neurosurgery-researchers-at-university-hospitals-case-receive-three