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VanAndel Institute Technology To Fight Swine Flu

Swine flu research may spread to Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids
by Pat Shellenbarger | The Grand Rapids Press

Monday May 04, 2009, 8:43 AM

When he heard of the disease outbreak in Mexico, a researcher associated with Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids began helping to unravel the mystery of swine flu.

"We have to make sure we can bring all of our tools to bear on swine flu," said David Engelthaler, a microbiologist with a Phoenix-based laboratory that formed an alliance with Van Andel Institute in February.


If the swine flu outbreak continues, Van Andel Institute researchers likely will join the effort to stem its spread, said Jeffrey Trent, who recently became research director for both institutes.

"We've already begun to have those discussions between the groups," Trent said. "Hopefully, there's going to be a link to how we can help out in Michigan, as well."

Although the Flagstaff lab focuses on viruses and the Van Andel Institute on cancer, the technology is much the same, he said.

A computer program called Xenobase, developed by Van Andel researcher Craig Webb to determine which drugs are most effective against specific cancers, also could be used to fight swine flu, Trent said.

Both institutes study the genetic nature of diseases. Engelthaler, program director of TGen's Flagstaff facility, has been studying influenza for about 20 years. He spent the past week refining a test to identify specimens of suspected swine flu sent to him by Arizona's health department. By next week, he hopes to reduce the time it takes to obtain a test result to two hours.

My answer...double solves or prevents nearly everything!! :grin:
It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things. --Roosevelt

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