Center receives $25.5 million in research funds


Tuesday, December 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center was awarded a record $25.5 million in biomedical research funds this year to find treatments and cures for arthritis, asthma, cancer, heart disease, muscular dystrophy and strokes.

A 22 percent funding increase from the National Institutes of Health _ the center's primary source of research funds _ compares with an average 10 percent increase this year at other large U.S. colleges and universities, center officials said Monday.

``This growth is unprecedented in the history of medical research in Oklahoma,'' said Michael Gilmore, research vice president at the Health Sciences Center.

In 2000, the center received $21 million from the federal government.

``Cutting-edge health care comes from just one place: Research,'' Gilmore said. ``What we're doing here in Oklahoma City is creating the next generation of treatments for our citizens in need.''

Gilmore said new drugs and better clinical care are two paramount goals. Oklahomans deserve to have the highest level of medical care without resorting to out- of-state clinics and hospitals, he said.

He said he wouldn't be surprised if the center garnered part of a national drug study on treating Alzheimer's disease.

Health Sciences Center Provost Joseph Ferretti said the National Institutes of Health's investment in biomedical research ``not only ensures that Oklahomans have access to state-of-the-art health care, but it translates into a huge boost in high-technology jobs in Oklahoma City and the surrounding region.''

In the past year, several private biomedical companies have been established at the medical school complex south of the state Capitol.

Increased federal funding, Gilmore said, allows OU to recruit scientists and their staffs.

Federal funds, Ferretti said, helped launch two major initiatives this year: A clinical research center to help scientists from all Oklahoma colleges and universities, and a human gene laboratory to detect the cause of various diseases.

Ferretti said funds from the local Presbyterian Health Foundation and state Higher Education Regents helped enhance efforts to garner federal government matching grants.