Professor Andrew Kang, MD, Receives $1.65 Million Grant for Rheumatoid Arthritis Research

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Dr. Andrew Kang and his team are researching treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Andrew Kang and his team are researching treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis.

Andrew Kang, MD, professor in the Division of Connective Tissue Diseases in the College of Medicine, has received a grant totaling $1,650,000 from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, an Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The award will be used to support a project titled “20 (OH) Vit D3, T Cells, and Arthritis.” The award will be distributed over a five-year period.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease of unknown cause that afflicts approximately 1 percent of the population worldwide. While there are several treatments available, they are helpful for only a portion of those affected, and are associated with significant side effects.

The goal of Dr. Kang and his research team is to improve treatment options. His team includes Linda Myers, MD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Arnold Postlethwaite, MD, chief in the Division of Connective Tissue Diseases and Goodman Chair of Excellence in the Department of Medicine, and Andrzej Slominski, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Pathology at UTHSC.

“We hope to develop an effective but safer treatment involving a combination of a synthetic peptide originally developed at UTHSC, as well as a unique form of vitamin D that does not cause elevation of blood calcium levels to toxic range,” explained Dr. Kang.

The results of this research may lead to a more effective therapy without the serious side effects that are associated with the currently available treatments.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.