Grants Awarded

Assistant Professor Hongsik Cho Receives $120,000 Grant to Develop Therapeutic Treatment Option for Osteoarthritis

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Hongsik Cho, PhD, MBA, assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering in the College of Medicine and at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a $120,000 grant award from the Oxnard Foundation to develop a therapeutic treatment option for osteoarthritis, a debilitating condition that often affects individuals over 60. The award will support a project titled, “Novel Targeted Therapy in Early Osteoarthritis Using Innovative Fluorescence Guided Arthroscopy.” Read More

Assistant Professor Hongsik Cho Receives $270,000 Grant Award to Develop Therapeutic Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis

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Hongsik Cho, PhD, MBA, assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a $270,000 grant award from the Arthritis Foundation to research new treatment options for osteoarthritis. Read More

Hongsik Cho, PhD, MBA, Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering awarded $130,808 Grant for Nanosome Osteoarthritis Research

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A $130,808 grant award from the William and Ella Owens Medical Research Foundation will allow Dr. Hongsik Cho and his research team to develop a drug delivery system using very small packets, called nanosomes, that enclose a drug and a fluorescent dye to repair damaged cartilage.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is an increasingly large burden on the American health care system. This debilitating condition affects 60 percent of Americans over the age of 60 — the fastest-growing demographic in the nation. Hongsik Cho, PhD, MBA, Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a $130,808 grant award from the William and Ella Owens Medical Research Foundation. The award will support a project titled, “Theranostic Nanosomes for Osteoarthritis.”

Although there have been substantial advancements in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis, treatments for OA have lagged and are currently primarily palliative until joints become totally dysfunctional and prosthetic replacement is needed. Early detection and treatment of this condition could delay the onset of disease and spare pain and cost.

The purpose of Dr. Cho’s research is to develop a drug delivery system using the very small packets, called nanosomes, enclosing drug and a fluorescent dye to repair damaged cartilage. The earliest injury of joint cartilage damage starts from the destruction of the cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) and exposed type II collagen, one of the major components of knee cartilage. Dr. Cho’s nanosome technology targets damaged cartilage only, using a specific antibody that binds to exposed type II collagen.

“We believe that binding of nanosomes containing therapeutic agents in a small animal model will target the release of this agent locally,” said Dr. Cho. “This will deliver high concentrations of the therapeutic agent locally where it is needed and prevent its general distribution. If successful, this targeted nanosome technology should aid in reducing general undesirable side effects.”

Founded in Texas in 1998, the William and Ella Owens Medical Research Foundation gives primarily to support original research on the cause, cure, treatment, or prevention of human diseases and disorders, including basic research, applied research, and clinical trials.

Susan Miranda, PhD, Assistant Professor of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering receives $1.6 Million Grant for Osteoporosis Research

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A $1.6 million grant will allow Dr. Susan Miranda to continue her research focusing on the genes regulated by estrogens in osteoblasts and osteoclasts. 

Susan Miranda, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $1.6 million from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. Her research aims to understand the mechanism of action of estrogens in bone cells, especially focusing on the genes regulated by estrogens in osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Understanding the molecular biology of estrogens in bone is critical to preventing and/or treating osteoporosis.

The award will be used to support a project titled, “Determining the Mechanism of How GATA4 Directs ERalpha Binding in Osteoblasts.” The award will be distributed over a five-year period.

Osteoporosis is a significant public health concern that affects more than 10 million people in the United States. An additional 33.6 million individuals in this country have low bone mass and are at risk for developing osteoporosis. While women are more likely than men to suffer from osteoporosis, seven percent of men in the United States over age 50 also have the disease. With the aging population, these numbers are likely to increase in the next few decades.

Estrogens are important in the development of bone and maintenance of bone mineral density in both men and women. It has been known for a long time that estrogens are necessary for strong bones, but little is known about their mechanism of action in bone cells. In particular, we lack the knowledge of which genes are regulated in each bone cell type.

“I am so energized to be here in Memphis with the support of the university and this new grant,” said Dr. Miranda. “It has been a long process, but now we can press forward with reaching innovative breakthroughs in osteoporosis research.”

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.

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