Emergency -

University of South Florida

USF Health rare disease team receives grant with international collaborators

A USF Health research team working to learn more about rare immune deficiencies has received a $200,000 grant from the Jeffrey Modell Foundation Translational Research Program in collaboration with research teams in Israel and Pennsylvania.

The research is designed to help patients who inherit a genetic defect that inhibits the normal development of T and B cells in their immune system. These patients may have lengthy or recurring infections may also appear to have autoimmune or inflammatory disorders because of an abnormal recombination activating gene 1, or RAG1. The USF Health research team and its collaborators are working on ways to edit the gene in hopes to treat or cure these patients.

At USF Health, Joseph Dasso, MD, PhD, a research scientist in Pediatrics in the Morsani College of Medicine, has spearheaded the grant writing process with Jolan Walter, MD, PhD, who holds the Robert A. Good Endowed Chair in the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology of the Morsani College of Medicine.  Krisztian Csomos, PhD, a research associate in Pediatrics, will lead B cell receptor repertoire investigations.

In Israel, the team of Ayal Hendel, PhD, of Bar-Ilan University, will perform genome editing of RAG1 combined immunodeficiency, and that of Raz Somech, MD, PhD, including Yu Nee Lee, PhD, both of Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital in Israel, will investigate T cell receptor repertoires.

The clinical team of Kevin Strauss, MD, at the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, PA, will work with patients from the Mennonite and Amish communities in the United States. Collaborators at other national and international institutions may also contribute patients to the study.