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Center of Excellence for Inflammation, Infectious Disease & Immunity

Quillen College of Medicine

Center News

Dr. Sam Harirforoosh and CIIDI Colaborators Receive $50,000 University Grant

Dr. Sam Harirforoosh, an associate professor in the ETSU College of Pharmacy and member of the Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity, was recently awarded a $50,000 University Research Development Committee Interdisciplinary grant. This funding will allow Dr. Harirforoosh, along with a team of collaborators, to investigate the side effect profile of an FDA approved HIV drug, Stribild.

Although having previously focused on the renal side effects of pharmaceuticals, Dr. Harirforooshs primary research interests are in the fields of pharmacokinetics (what the body does to a drug) and pharmacogenomics (how genetics influence drug response).

In addition to routine clinical parameters, such as renal clearance, some drugs are dosed based on patient genotype. Genetic variations in metabolizing enzymes, transport proteins, and/or drug receptors among individuals may influence both the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (what the drug does to the body) properties of drugs. This can be due to the differences in expression of enzymes involved in elimination of drugs, carriers transporting the drug throughout the body, or other drug target molecules. Thus illuminating the effect of genetics on a specific drug can provide insight into both the severity of potential side effects as well as the efficacy of the treatment.

Derek MurrellDr. Harirforoosh

While HIV positive individuals have many treatment options, numerous possibilities for treatment failure also exist. Physicians may choose to remove patients from a specific regimen due to resistance to a certain drug or treatment-associated adverse effects. Patients may also elect to discontinue treatment due to uncomfortable events. Due to the nature of HIV, the limitation of adverse effects is paramount as patients must maintain treatment regimens indefinitely.

The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of individual patient characteristics (genetics, age, gender, weight, concomitant drug use, and concurrent disease states) on Stribild pharmacokinetics and adverse effects, said Harirforoosh.

The research team believes that if their hypothesis is correct they may be able to predict potential side effects of Stribild, using a genetic test, before a patient begins this drug regimen. As a result, health care providers would be able to tailor drug therapy with less trial and error. This would ensure that patients receive individually personalized care, which will keep them safer and healthier throughout their treatment.

Dr. Harirforoosh has a long history of collaborating with faculty members in other colleges. In the case of this most recent award, he is working with Dr. Jonathan Moorman and Dr. Michelle Duffourc, both of the College of Medicine, Dr. Kesheng Wang from the College of Public Health, and Dr. David Cluck from the College of Pharmacy. All of the collaborating faculty are also members of the Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity. Mr. Derek Murrell, a PhD student in the College of Pharmacy is also acting as a project coordinator and researcher. Each collaborators expertise will be beneficial to this multifaceted study.

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