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The Hutchinson Center’s Dr. Muneesh Tewari is one of 42 recipients nationwide of the National Institutes of Health’s new Transformative R01 grants. His five-year award is worth $3.4 million. The NIH awarded $30 million this fiscal year to specifically support exceptionally innovative and unconventional research projects through this program.
Tewari plans to use the funds to continue his focus on microRNAs, molecular workhorses that keep genes in check. Bucking conventional wisdom about how the endocrine system works, the Human Biology Division researcher is hoping to show that microRNAs can function as hormones and carry signals throughout the human body, which could lead to better methods of diagnosing and treating a variety of human diseases.
Tewari and his colleagues were the first to discover that microRNAs are released by cancer cells and circulate in the blood, giving them the potential to signal the presence of cancer at its earliest stages.
[Adapted from a NIH news release.]