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$1.4 Million Grant Awarded to Study Potential Anemia Therapy

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New York University (NYU) has announced that Despina Sitara, PhD, MSc, BSc, an assistant professor of basic science and craniofacial biology at NYU College of Dentistry, has received a 3-year, $1.4 million grant from the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. The award will be used to study how an excess of the bone-secreted hormone fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23) causes severe anemia. The research seeks to understand the role FGF-23 plays in anemia, which affects more than 80% of patients with chronic kidney and cardiovascular conditions.

Sitara’s prior research demonstrated that FGF-23 helps regulate phosphate and vitamin D homeostasis and bone mineralization. It also suggests that high levels of FGF-23 lead to decreased red blood cell formation. As her team pursues further research based on these findings, Sitara hypothesizes that inhibition of FGF-23 will enable the body to restore red blood cell production, thus countering the effects of anemia. Reportedly the first to examine FGF-23 as the cause of anemia, it is hoped this investigation will lead to new targeted therapies.

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