$6 Million In No-Strings-Attached Grants Supports The Advance Of Biomedical Research Around The World
Freedom to Discover™ Program Encourages Risk-Taking by Scientists at 12 Institutions with Focus on both Basic Science and New Therapeutic Approaches in Obesity and Diabetes, Hepatitis, Schizophrenia and Cancer
NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 6, 2006) -- Exploring the frontiers of biomedical science, the Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) Freedom to Discover™ program today announced unrestricted grants totaling $6 million to support cutting-edge research in cancer, nutrition, neuroscience, cardiovascular, infectious and metabolic diseases and synthetic organic chemistry.
“The Bristol-Myers Squibb Freedom to Discover program encourages science at its most creative - unrestricted funding, unfettered by commercial relationships, the need to justify any new directions to be taken or other similar constraints on innovation,” said John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “These no-strings-attached grants require only that the best scientists do their best work in order to advance human health. Our hope is that innovative treatments, new scientific understandings and benefits for people everywhere will someday result from these grants.”
Since 1977, the Freedom to Discover Unrestricted Biomedical Research Grants and Awards program, sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, has committed more than $120 million through 289 grants to more than 160 research institutions in 23 countries. The institutions receive a half million dollars each over a five-year period to support the work of leading scientists. These individuals serve as grant administrators and may use the funds to conduct research of their choosing in their scientific field. In addition, this same program each year presents Distinguished Achievement Awards to pioneers in their fields, with prizes of $50,000. The 2006 awards presentation will take place in October in New York City. An independent peer-review committee comprised of the current Bristol-Myers Squibb unrestricted research grant administrators selects the Distinguished Achievement Award recipient in each scientific field. Eighteen previous grant and award winners have also won Nobel Prizes.
The 12 scientists selected as administrators for the 2006 grants represent the best examples of leading edge research around the globe and include nine U.S. scientists from Boston, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, La Jolla, Ann Arbor, Durham, NC, and New Brunswick, NJ, and three researchers representing Japan, Germany and Australia. Among efforts being supported are:
* New approaches to combating schizophrenia by normalizing the signals generated by neurons in the brain
* Novel approaches to boosting good cholesterol or HDL levels in the blood to combat atherosclerosis
* Examining the immune system response in fighting hepatitis viral infections
* Using advanced technologies to discern subtle genetic differences among Japanese patients in order to create a library of potential tumor markers
* Advances in metabolic analysis to help intervene in the development of obesity and diabetes
* Isolating the genetic contribution of diseases such as type 2 diabetes
* Understanding the signaling mechanisms in the body that form clots and lead to heart attack and stroke
The institutions, grant administrators, and the areas of research being supported follow:
Cancer: Yusuke Nakamura, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Human Genome Center, and Professor of Molecular Medicine at the Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, to continue his landmark efforts in comprehensive expression profile analysis of human cancers to isolate genes that are likely to serve as molecular targets for the development of tumor markers or anti-cancer drugs.
Cancer: Arnold J. Levine, Ph.D., Professor, Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick and The Simons Center for Systems Biology at the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, to explore new ground in the fundamentals of cancer biology, focusing on a heritable single nucleotide polymorphism in a protein called MDM2, which may play a critical role in the formation and growth of cancers.
Nutrition: Berthold V. Koletzko, M.D., Ph.D., Head, Division of Metabolic Diseases and Nutritional Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, to encourage a multidisciplinary approach that investigates the implications of early nutrition on long-term health and well-being, primarily through clinical trials.
Neuroscience: David A. Lewis, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and Director of the Translational Neuroscience Program at the University of Pittsburgh, to explore the effects of enhancing the function of neural circuits in the brain in order to improve cognitive abilities in individuals with schizophrenia.
Cardiovascular Diseases: Daniel J. Rader, M.D., Associate Professor, Medicine, Pathology and Pharmacology and Director, Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine and the Lipid Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, to enhance our understanding of genetic and inflammatory factors that regulate the metabolism of high density lipoproteins (HDL), the “good cholesterol,” as well as exploring novel approaches to raising levels of HDL or improving its function in order to prevent and treat atherosclerosis.
Cardiovascular Diseases: Shaun R. Coughlin, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Director, Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, to study the signaling mechanisms in the body that lead to heart attacks and stroke - including the mechanisms underlying the formation of blood clots at atherosclerotic plaques - ultimately seeking to develop novel therapies against thrombotic diseases.
Infectious Diseases: Margaret James Koziel, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, to further investigate cellular immune responses against hepatitis C virus, especially whether certain of the immune system’s T-cells can actually promote or protect against the progression of liver disease.
Infectious Diseases: Stephen A. Locarnini, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., F.R.C.[Path], Head, Research and Molecular Development, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, to support research on the mechanisms of hepatitis B infection, including gaining a better understanding of how the virus comes to resist certain anti-viral therapies by monitoring the genetic makeup of patients and the viruses that infect them.
Metabolic Diseases: Christopher B. Newgard, Ph.D., Director, Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center and W. David and Sarah W. Stedman Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, Medicine and Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, to better understand obesity and diabetes by studying mechanisms of metabolic regulation in the liver and pancreatic beta cells, and by investigating metabolic “signatures” of obesity and related metabolic diseases through advanced technologies, with the ultimate goal of developing new therapeutic strategies.
Metabolic Diseases: David M. Altshuler, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Program in Medical and Population Genetics at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, to support research that seeks to characterize and catalog patterns of human genetic variation, and apply this information to isolate the genetic contribution to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hormone-responsive cancers of the prostate and breast, while also exploring the clinical application of genetic information to improve diagnosis and clinical management.
Synthetic Organic Chemistry: Phil S. Baran, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, to solve challenges in the total synthesis of natural products and to bridge gaps in synthetic capabilities by the invention of new reactions and methodologies, with the long-term aim of discovering and developing novel synthetic tools and gaining access to potential pharmaceutical leads.
Synthetic Organic Chemistry: Melanie S. Sanford, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Michigan, to discover new methodologies in organometallic chemistry, including their use in the synthesis of biologically active compounds.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global pharmaceutical and related health care products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life.
Visit the Freedom to Discover program at www.bms.com/freedomtodiscover
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