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Case Western receives grant to study oral complications from HIV

April 12, 2017 Washington — Case Western Reserve University has received a $1.59 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to study oral complications associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection and treatment.

During the five-year grant period, the researchers will study chronic inflammation in cases where it’s been linked with oral cancer, lesions, viral infections and other ailments by focusing on regulatory T-cells, or “Tregs” — which help an immune system direct an appropriate response, according to a university release. Specifically, the researchers will look at how the “mechanisms within these cells — usually particular proteins among millions of their kind — can go haywire” so that they can pinpoint the origin of cells they suspect may promote inflammation.
 
“Restoring balance to an immune system is key after being altered by HIV and medications,” said Pushpa Pandiyan, Ph.D., lead researcher and an assistant professor of biological sciences at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. “Otherwise, a person’s natural defenses can sometimes be too aggressive, especially in vulnerable areas like the gums and other oral tissues.”
 
The research team includes HIV specialists at the university’s School of Medicine.