LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA) — Research to better understand chlamydia, potentially informing the development of a vaccine for the infection, is underway at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (ACRI) and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the project $420,000.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of NIH, is funding the work of Laxmi Yeruva, PhD, an investigator at ACRI and an associate professor of Pediatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine. She and her team will use the two-year award to examine interactions between chlamydia and proteins released by cells during infection.
They believe building a better understanding of how these proteins affect inflammation and tissue damage during infection can lead to novel therapies, possibly even helping vaccine development.
Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the world and is especially prevalent among adolescents and young adults. A major consequence of infection is persistent inflammation and evolving damage to the reproductive organs, which in women can result in severe pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
“This study has tremendous potential to impact how we understand chlamydia’s effects at the cellular level,” Yeruva said. “Our ultimate goal is to offer context that could lead to therapeutic avenues and development of a vaccine to prevent this infection and its devastation.”
Dr. Yeruva’s research has been supported, in part, by funds from the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, the major research component of the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000.