University Hospitals Case Medical Center researcher awarded

Melvin Berger, M.D., Ph.D., a physician-researcher in immunology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, is one of seven inaugural grant recipients from Talecris Biotherapeutics, Inc.'s Talents (Talecris New Trials Support) program. Berger is an expert on primary immunodeficiencies (PID) which are disorders of the immune system that make patients highly vulnerable to infections and autoimmune diseases.

The $250,000 award will help him research whether an under-the-skin pump is as effective as an intravenous drip in treating patients with neurological diseases with immune globulin. Immune globulin replaces missing antibodies in people with PID, but high doses are used to fight autoimmune diseases such as myasthenia gravis and chronic polyneuropathy. In this situation, the immunoglobulin serves to "modulate" the immune system, bringing the autoimmune process under control, according to Berger who directs the Model Diagnostic Center for Primary Immunodeficiencies at UH's Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

"Giving large doses of globulin intravenously is often associated with adverse effects, but giving the same medicine under the skin has many fewer side effects, so patients can usually treat themselves at home," Berger said.

The Talents grants support research trials conceived by researchers and clinicians with an interest in intravenous immunoglobulin (IGIV) therapies. The Talecris Talents Awards are designed to help further advance research that addresses the use of IGIV as either an antibody replacement therapy or as an immune modulation therapy. Talecris produces and markets Gamunex® , a leading IGIV.

"We were extremely impressed with the quality of the grant submissions for our first Talents Awards program," said Rene McRogers, deputy director of scientific relations and communications and Talents Program chair at Talecris Biotherapeutics. "We look forward to the outcomes that will result from these resea

Contact: George Stamatis
University Hospitals of Cleveland

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