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Novel approach to treat IBD receives Ferring Innovation Grant

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13 March 2017

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Monash BDI researcher, Associate Professor Mireille Lahoud

Monash BDI researcher, Associate Professor Mireille Lahoud, has been awarded a highly-competitive Ferring Innovation Grant for her research aimed at better understanding how the immune system works in order to treat or regulate inflammatory diseases, specifically gastrointestinal inflammation.

Like many worldwide, Associate Professor Lahoud’s family have been deeply affected by the debilitating nature of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This personal experience motivated her to better understand how the immune system balances the need to effectively eliminate harmful infections, while minimising harm to the body.

The Ferring Pharmaceuticals grant worth US$100,000 will enable Associate Professor Lahoud to continue her research on using peptides that interact with an “immune regulator” on the surface of immune cells, in order to regulate or suppress unwanted inflammation.

“Discovering the proteins that interact with the immune regulator led me to discover how they function and to investigate their potential as a novel approach to treat IBD,” Associate Professor Lahoud said.

“One of the most challenging aspects of my research is determining how best to use our knowledge of the immune function and our newly identified regulatory proteins to shed light on the complexities of the immune system, so that we can improve health outcomes,” Associate Professor Lahoud said.

The Ferring Innovation Grants program is an annual initiative of the Ferring Research Institute (FRI) which provides grants for early stage research. The program focuses on novel extracellular drug targets addressable with peptides or proteins within Ferring’s core therapeutic areas of reproductive health, gastroenterology, urology, and endocrinology.