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Trudeau Institute gets federal research grant

NIH commits $9 million over 5 years to study aging’s effects on immunity

June 14, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - The Trudeau Institute is receiving a $1.89 million grant to study the impacts of aging on the immune system's response to infection and vaccination.

The federal investment from the National Institutes of Health is the first installment of a five-year research grant for Trudeau, worth a total of $9 million.

Existing research from the Trudeau Institute has found that immune cells don't respond to vaccination as well as a person ages. Immune cells of the elderly show slower and reduced functional responses compared to cells of younger individuals. With investments from the NIH, the institute plans to focus its research into defining how aging impairs immunity and find ways to vaccinate people who can overcome the challenge of aging cells.

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Laura Haynes, Trudeau Institute scientist

According to the press release, influenza alone leads to 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations each year, 90 percent of which are older adults.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., announced the grant Thursday in a press release.

"This is a great investment for the Trudeau Institute and for the North Country," Gillibrand said in the press release. "Trudeau is home to some of the world's brightest minds and cutting-edge innovation. When we invest in new ground-breaking research, we can unlock treatments to some of humanity's oldest and deadliest diseases - improving lives and saving lives."

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"The support from the National Institute on Aging for the Trudeau Institute's research will impact the future understanding of aging and immunity in the elderly," Laura Haynes, lead Trudeau researcher and faculty member, said in the release. "Our collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Connecticut Health Science Center will expand our research into human studies and our understanding of influenza."

Benjamin Brewster, board chairman of the institute, thanked the Trudeau staff for pushing to obtain the grant.

"This award will help advance the Trudeau Institute's discoveries in fundamental research and its impact on cures and treatments," Brewster said in the release.



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