KANSAS CITY, Mo., Aug. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MRIGlobal will further study Zika virus infection resulting in microcephaly. The study will be funded by a newly awarded research development grant from the Paul Patton Trust, Ted C. McCarter, William Evans Jr., and Bank of America N.A.
The $50,000 grant was awarded by The Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute to support research focused on genetic diseases affecting children.
MRIGlobal will collaborate with the University of Missouri to develop unique animal models to investigate Zika virus infection. The mosquito-borne virus can be passed from mother to fetus via an unknown mechanism, resulting in reduced head circumference due to incomplete brain development called microcephaly. Individuals with this condition have many disabilities. Although there are no treatments for the physical abnormalities associated with this condition, therapies can control seizures, hyperactivity, and other symptoms.
"Zika virus is not well researched and is now known to cause serious birth defects. There is a desperate need to understand how the virus spreads through mosquitos and from mother to baby," says Carl Gelhaus, Ph.D., Principal Scientist at MRIGlobal. "Our research through animal models will examine how Zika virus spreads to provide tools to the research community and better understand how Zika virus causes microcephaly in a developing fetus. Our hope is that we will identify drug and vaccine targets that can be further developed to stop the devastating effects of Zika virus infection."
"These grants fund research focused on genetic diseases that primarily affect children and may lead to life-changing discoveries and treatments," said Dr. Wayne Carter, KCALSI's president and chief executive officer. "We value our relationship with the Paul Patton Trust, Ted C. McCarter, William Evans Jr., and Bank of America Trustees, the corporate co-trustee, for funding these research grants. Historically for every dollar invested in these grants, over $8.50 has been returned to the community and researchers in future grant dollars because these grants allow the recipients to successfully compete for much larger, federally funded grants that can provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for follow-on research." KCALSI has managed the scientific review of the Patton Trust grant proposals since 2007, identifying research programs with the greatest scientific relevance and potential impact.
For more information, visit www.mriglobal.org.