June 14, 2023

NIH grant boosts international TB research consortium

A new grant will help support Vanderbilt’s RePORT Brazil, one of an international consortium’s six regional tuberculosis research programs.

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year, $19.5 million grant to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, for support of Regional Prospective Observational Research in Tuberculosis International, or RePORT International.

Timothy Sterling, MD

The grant follows the recently announced five-year, $5 million grant to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in support of RePORT Brazil, one of the international consortium’s six regional TB research programs.

The consortium conducts observational research on TB, TB-HIV, and TB-COVID-19, and is preparing for clinical trials.

Rutgers will pass funds from the new grant to nine additional institutions collaborating in various capacities on RePORT International, including to VUMC in support of research spearheaded by infectious diseases specialist Timothy Sterling, MD, holder of the David E. Rogers Professorship in the Department of Medicine and founding director of the Vanderbilt Tuberculosis Center. Sterling is among three principal investigators for RePORT International.

“RePORT International will facilitate increased in-country and cross-national collaborations between bench and clinical researchers,” Sterling said. “The data from our various projects places on the research horizon new methods for detecting disease risk and targeting prevention, and a more personalized approach to TB therapy. In this new phase of the project, we’ll be looking to strengthen and capitalize on coordination and research data harmonization among our vibrant, regionally funded programs in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Africa.”

According to the World Health Organization, there were more than 10 million new cases of TB worldwide in 2021 and 1.6 million people died from the disease, making TB the world’s 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious diseases killer after COVID-19.

Several other VUMC researchers contribute to RePORT International, among them infectious diseases specialist Yuri van der Heijden, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Medicine, Gustavo Amorim, PhD, research assistant professor of Biostatistics, and Stephanie Duda, PhD, associate professor of Biomedical Informatics. Also contributing are Vanderbilt Tuberculosis Center data manager Megan Turner, MA, and Austin Katona,MS, and program managers Cody Staats, MS, Marina Cruvinel Figueiredo, DVM, MS, Fernanda Maruri, MPH, and Hilary Vansell Riley, MMHC.