Blood disorder research receives 2.5 million from the NIH

MANHASSET, NY – Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Associate Professor and anemia expert Lionel Blanc, PhD, received a five-year, $2.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study improved treatment for erythropoietic disorders, including Diamond Blackfan anemia.

Anemia is a condition that develops when blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells, and affects approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide. Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare type of anemia that’s caused when bone marrow cannot make enough red blood cells. DBA is usually diagnosed when a child is less than a year old.

Dr. Blanc will study how the prescription drugs pomalidomide and dexamethasone act during red blood cell formation and could be combined to provide a superior treatment than currently available for patients living with DBA. His hypothesis is that by combining these drugs, the dosage could be reduced for patients and therefore the toxicity of the drugs would be reduced as well. This would have a positive impact on patients taking this medication because side effects would be less.

“Anemia is a debilitating condition, and to watch children who live with Diamond Blackfan anemia suffer from weakness and other physical effects is difficult,” said Dr. Blanc. “We believe that our efforts to combine two available drugs will offer a better treatment solution and quality of life for patients who suffer from anemia.”

For this study, Dr. Blanc will collaborate with researchers from the Diamond Blackfan Anemia Registry, Professor Jeffrey M. Lipton, MD, PhD and Associate Professor Adrianna Vlachos of the Feinstein Institute, Stanford University’s Anupama Narla, MD, and investigators from the Broad Institute.

“Dr. Blanc is a recognized leader in hematology research” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute. “NIH support for this project aligns the mission of the Feinstein Institute, to produce knowledge to cure disease, with the NIH mission to apply knowledge to advance health.”

Dr. Blanc’s grant is provided by National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

About the Feinstein Institute

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the Feinstein Institute includes 4,000 researchers and staff who are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit FeinsteinInstitute.org.

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