Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Research funding announced

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation has announced funding of $1,638,434 towards 12 new projects, 12 continuing projects, and two career development awards each worth $20,000. 

New studies being supported this year include:


“Passive immunization of foals with RNA-AB against R equi.” Led by Jeroen Pollet, the project at Baylor College of Medicine will follow on from previous work that showed that poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG) anttibodies can protect foals against Rhodococcus equi (R. equi) infection. 


Currently, these protective antibodies can be acquired by foals drinking çolostrum from a vaccinated mare or by a blood transfusion. But now the research team want to develop a new vaccine to give newborn foals instant protection against R equi infection. 


They explain that the vaccine comprises lab-made messenger RNA molecules (mRNA), which are a blueprint that can be used to instruct cells to produce protective PNAG binding antibodies. “We intend to administer the mRNA therapy by using a nebulizer, to let the foals inhale the RNA. This way, we hope to make the procedure less invasive and have mRNA delivered to lung cells where the antibodies are most needed for protection against R. equi. The proposed project would be the first study developing an mRNA therapy for horses.”


A University of Minnesota project led by Molly McCue aims to use resting electrocardiograms (ECGs) to identify horses with irregular heart rhythms at exercise that can cause sudden cardiac death (SCD.  They anticipate that this should allow increased monitoring and improved understanding of SCD. 


Thomas Koch, at the University of Guelph, has gained funding for research that will assess the use of equine umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stromal cells to treat joint injuries in horses. 


A Texas A&M University study led by Noah Cohen will look at developing a more accurate blood test to identify horses infected with the Streptococcus equi to improve control and prevention of strangles. 


Further details of these and all the other projects supported by this year’s Grayson Jockey Club research grants are available at:

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