University of Michigan

Courtesy of Thomas Brumley, Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0

#5 - University of Michigan
Fiscal 2013 NIH funding: $412.02 million
Fiscal 2012 NIH funding: $458.49 million
Change in funding: -$46.47 million
Number of awards in 2013: 1,021
Number of awards in 2012: 1,054

Last year, researchers at the University of Michigan found that a drug called tranylcypromine, or TCP, used since the 1960s to treat depression, was able to reverse the effects of sickle cell disease in mice. Sickle cell disease causes a person's red blood cells to be misshapen, which can lead to vascular damage and premature death. TCP worked by blocking LSD1, a molecule inside red blood cells, which boosted the production of fetal hemoglobin--counteracting the devastating effect of the abnormal hemoglobin S that sickle cell patients make. While it's too soon for the drug to be used in routine treatment, scientists are planning a clinical trial for adult patients with the disease.

Drug repurposing is a hot field in biomedical research right now, and University of Michigan scientists found another use for a drug last year that's been on the market for 15 years. Working with researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, San Diego, scientists found that a drug called amlexanox prevented weight gain in mice. In the U.S., the drug is used as a topical paste to combat mouth ulcers, and in Japan, another version is used to treat asthma. In Nature Medicine, researchers detailed how they fed two groups of mice a high-calorie diet and when the animals became obese, one group was given an injectable form of amlexanox. Despite eating the same diet, the mice that were fed amlexanox lost weight, had reduced body fat and were cured of Type 2 diabetes. 

For more:
Canker sore drug reverses weight gain in mice
Antidepressant could reverse sickle cell disease

University of Michigan

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