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|Home >> Press Release - February 12, 2015 |
Dysautonomia International Announces $200,000 Research Grant
to Study Often Misdiagnosed Neurological Condition
EAST MORICHES, NEW YORK (February 12, 2015) - Dysautonomia International, a not-for-profit patient advocacy organization focused on disorders of the autonomic nervous system, has awarded a three-year $200,000 grant to Dr. David C. Kem at the University of Oklahoma to support innovative new research on postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). The $200,000 grant is the largest private grant ever awarded for POTS research.
POTS is a debilitating neurological condition that impacts an estimated 1-3 million Americans; 85% are young women between the ages of 12 and 40. POTS is often misdiagnosed, resulting in an average six-year diagnostic delay. There is currently no cure for POTS, and few effective treatments, but Dysautonomia International is seeking to change that.
Dr. Kem is a George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Oklahoma VA Medical Center. Last year Dr. Kem's research team, working with researchers at Vanderbilt University, identified adrenergic receptor antibodies that they believe may be contributing to symptoms in some POTS patients, providing evidence that POTS may be an autoimmune disease (when your immune system attacks your own body). This grant will allow Dr. Kem's team to continue their pursuit to develop a blood test for these antibodies that could potentially be used to help diagnose POTS, and to develop new treatment options targeting these antibodies. "We're researching potential drug therapies that may be used to block and inhibit production of these autoantibodies, and thereby lesson their burden on the patient," says Dr. Kem.
The grant was made possible by a donor family that wishes to remain anonymous, whose daughter has POTS and an inherited connective tissue disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which is found in approximately 30% of POTS patients. She has also tested positive for some of the antibodies involved in this research. The three-year post-doctoral fellowship position created with the funding will be named the "Meghan's Hope POTS Research Fellowship" in honor of their daughter.
Lauren Stiles, Esq., President of Dysautonomia International, notes, "Dysautonomia International is committed to funding research that may lead to new and better treatment options for patients. Dr. Kem's research has opened a window of hope for many. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the family that made this grant possible. Research on autonomic disorders is greatly underfunded, but we must find new ways to fund this much needed research, through regular donor support, large private grants, collaborations with businesses, and other creative partnerships."
Since its founding in 2012, Dysautonomia International has funded research, physician education, patient empowerment and public awareness programs on POTS and other disorders of the autonomic nervous system. To learn more about POTS and Dysautonomia International's work, visit www.dysautonomiainternational.org. To support the POTS Antibodies Research Fund, please visit, www.dysautonomiainternational.org/POTS-Fund.
POTS Research in Progress: The recipient of the Meghan's Hope POTS Research Fellowship, Dr. Hongliang Li, supervising student trainee Campbell Liles while conducting POTS research in Dr. David Kem's lab at the University of Oklahoma.