OMRF secures $2.6 million flu grant
OMRF scientist Jose Alberola-Ila, M.D., Ph.D., has received a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study a novel population of cells that appear to be protective against influenza.
The grant, awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will provide Alberola-Ila with $2.69 million to investigate the role a type of white blood cell plays in mounting the body’s response against flu infection.
In preliminary experiments, Alberola-Ila found that laboratory mice with greater numbers of these cells (known as NKT cells) were better protected from the virus.
“All the mice we looked at had the flu, but the ones with more of these cells lost less weight, got less sick and recovered faster,” said Alberola-Ila. “We don’t yet know exactly why the mice responded the way they did, and that is exactly what this new grant will allow us to find out.”