U.S. Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a $386,934 Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) grant to Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Professor Vishwanath Venketaraman, PhD, for his research into the links between diabetes and tuberculosis. 

In the past 10 to 15 years, there has been increased documentation and evidence that people with type 2 diabetes are increasingly susceptible to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, Venketaraman said. 

His proposal is to test if a glutathione (GSH)-deficiency in type 2 diabetes (T2DM) can impair the formation of granuloma and dampen the granulomatous effector responses against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection, thereby favoring bacterial replication and pathogenesis. 

“Approximately 10 million new cases of active TB were reported worldwide in 2017, and 1.6 million people died because of TB in the same year, making TB the number one cause of death from an infectious disease,” Venketaraman said. “Findings from this study will therefore enable us to better understand the benefits of GSH supplementation in protecting individuals with T2DM from developing active TB.” 

“For more than four decades, WesternU has trained physicians to provide families throughout Southern California with the expert health care and attention they need,” Torres said. “In the Inland Empire, that focus is often on treating lung and respiratory diseases caused by the region’s poor air quality. Under Dr. Vishwanath Venketaraman’s leadership in the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, this investment will advance efforts to beat lung disease and give residents of the 35th District a fighting chance at leading healthy lives.”  

“This significant grant award by the Department of Health and Human Services for lung disease research at WesternU is a tremendous compliment to the University and to Dr. Vishwanath Venketaraman of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, who is leading this effort,” said Daniel R. Wilson, MD, PhD, President of Western University of Health Sciences. “WesternU is deeply committed to biomedical research to enhance human health, and this grant award is recognition and appreciation of that commitment.” 

Torres is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for appropriating federal spending. 

“I am grateful my proposal was picked up for funding,” Venketaraman said. “It’s a very competitive process. I feel very honored.”

 Click here to read Torres’ news release: https://torres.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/torres-announces-nearly-387000-hhs-grant-awarded-western-university-lung