Grants: January 2013

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Awarded $1.9 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) was recently selected to receive a $1.9 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The project aims to study the benefits of new models for delivering transitional care from the hospital to home within an Accountable Care Organization structure, over the next three years.

The study, which will enroll approximately 1,800 patients from BWH and Massachusetts General Hospital will be led by Jeffery Schnipper, HMS associate professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and director of clinical research for the BWH Hospitalist Service.

The project, titled “Relative benefits of a hospital-PCMH collaboration within an ACO to improve care transitions,” will leverage recent health care reform efforts employed across Partners HealthCare, such as the creation of Accountable Care Organizations. The research will be part of a portfolio of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research that will address PCORI’s national priorities for research.


$5.4 Million Awarded to Massachusetts General Hospital to Guide Alzheimer’s Drug Development

A 5.4 million-dollar contribution from the non-profit Cure Alzheimer’s Fund to Mass General was recently announced. The award will allow for state-of-the-art whole genome DNA sequencing to further understand the genetic cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

The first phase of the Alzheimer’s Genome Project seeks to determine “what” genes and environmental inputs influence Alzheimer’s, the second phase will use Whole Genome Sequencing technology to determine “how” these genes increase risk or protect against the disease.

“This is an ambitious new collaboration addressing a major health care problem facing our nation,” said Peter Slavin, president of Mass General. “It expands our current work with the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, which has dramatically advanced Alzheimer’s research with the identification of more than 120 new candidate genes. We will now be able to mine this information for new levels of detail and give new hope to patients here and around the world.”

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is a not-for-profit charity established to provide funding for targeted research into the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. 


Michael Fitzgerald Awarded Five-Year National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Grant

Michael Fitzgerald, HMS associate professor of medicine, was recently awarded a five-year National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NLBI) multiPI R01 grant titled “HDL prevention of cholesterol crystal inflammation in HIV disease.”

HIV infection and the use of anti-retroviral drugs have been proven to be associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, but the mechanism for this association remains unclear.

Fitzgerald’s grant will investigate whether HIV infection and therapy can alter an individual’s metabolism in a way that makes cholesterol more prone to crystallization. Previous work by the research team has shown that crystallized cholesterol can trigger an inflammatory signal, which accelerates the progression of atherosclerosis—an underlying cause of cardiovascular disease.

The NLBI is dedicated to providing global leadership for research, training, and educational programs that promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung and blood diseases.