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URMC receives $15 million bioterrorism grant

Rochester Business Journal
August 12, 2010

The University of Rochester Medical Center has received $15 million in federal bioterrorism funding that allows investigators to build on several discoveries made during the past five years to improve the ability to treat radiation injuries, especially from an act of terrorism.

URMC was awarded an initial grant of $21 million in 2005 to become part of a national research network, Centers for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation. The centers were charged with researching how best to respond to a dirty bomb or other radiological or nuclear attack.

A second, $15 million, five-year award, received this month from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, will allow URMC researchers to focus on testing known drugs and experimental agents and their ability to ward off systemic radiation injury that affects the lungs, brain, skin and bone marrow.

Jacqueline Williams, research professor in the department of radiation oncology and the project’s principal investigator, said the new project places the URMC firmly in a leadership position in the counterterrorism effort.

“For decades we have built an expertise here in looking at the delayed effects of radiation exposure, mostly in the context of cancer treatment, and now we are able to apply that knowledge to the terrorism scenario,” Williams said. “The most exciting part of this project is that through these and other collaborative efforts, we believe we are at the brink of discovering ways to mitigate the damage caused by radiation and protect the body from the repercussions that can arise months or years after the exposure.”

(c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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