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More MS news articles for December 2002

Inflammation focus of study at Baylor

New center to explore role in diseases

Nov. 20, 2002, 6:55PM
By Deborah Mann Lake
Special to the Chronicle

Inflammation, the stuff of stubbed toes and skinned knees, is actually a common factor in many diseases including multiple sclerosis, arthritis, asthma and arteriosclerosis.

How inflammation works and why it is so prevalent are just some of the questions researchers at the new $25 million Biology of Inflammation Center at Baylor College of Medicine intend to answer.

"Inflammation encompasses a lot of diseases and clinical conditions. Many of the processes causing inflammation are similar, whether it's happening in someone's skin or their airways," said Dr. David Huston, Baylor professor of medicine and immunology and director of the center.

"The center brings people together whose research had a lot in common but who didn't have the opportunity to interact," said Huston.

Researchers studying a wide range of inflammation-related diseases will be able to take advantage of the center's open-lab environment to share information.

In a "gene to bedside" concept, Huston said, information learned from their research will be employed to treating the approximately 100 million Americans who suffer from inflammation-related diseases.

The center, with 40 faculty members, also will provide training for biomedical researchers and medical students. Patients will receive the benefit of new information through Baylor's outpatient clinics and affiliated hospitals.

"Centers like Baylor are poised to take advantage of all the new information and translate it to patients," said Dr. Peter Lipsky, scientific director of the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

"We can shorten the time of the application of new therapeutics from one discipline to another," Lipsky said.

The center is now beginning a second phase of development for a $15 million Innovative Therapeutics Core, which will explore new patient treatments.

© 2002, Houston Chronicle