The National Institutes of Health has awarded another round of millions of dollars in research funding to two of Rhode Island’s major teaching hospitals. Rhode Island Hospital and Women and Infants are using the money to study cancer and fetal development.
This is the third and final phase of NIH funding for programs called Centers for Biological Research Excellence, or COBRE, at each hospital.
The National Institutes of Health has funded centers for basic biological research at each institution through the year 2020 – totaling more than $50 million dollars since 2003. Women and Infants research lead James Padbury, MD says the NIH money has helped build infrastructure and support junior researchers. They’re investigating fetal development and pregnancy problems like preeclampsia, which can cause dangerously high blood pressure.
“We’ve identified a protein that’s misfolded in preeclampsia," said Padbury. "And we can actually identify this early in pregnancy, earlier than anyone had ever thought we could identify those at risk for preeclampsia.”
Rhode Island Hospital has used the funding to understand gastrointestinal cancers. One goal is to find a way to detect liver, colon, and other cancers earlier.