Dr. Kathleen Stringer receives two federal grants
Kathleen A. Stringer, PharmD ’85, professor of clinical and translational pharmacy, director of the NMR Metabolomics Laboratory and associate director of the Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care, has been awarded two federal grants totaling nearly $3.3 million to carry out two important studies.
The Stringer Laboratory is focused on investigating the metabolic consequences of critical illnesses like sepsis, plastic bronchitis and acute respiratory distress syndrome. In addition, the group’s interest in inflammatory lung diseases extends to identifying and testing novel therapeutics and furthering understanding of inflammatory processes in the lungs. To date, there are no therapeutic options for these clinically-challenging problems, partially because the disease processes are not well understood. To further knowledge of disease processes and drug response, Dr. Stringer’s research program utilizes metabolomics, the measurement of small molecules in biological samples.
The first award is an R01 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. It supports a pharmacometabolomics study of L-carnitine in patients with septic shock. This project is a collaborative effort with two of her Michigan colleagues, Dr. Charles Evans of the Michigan Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core (MRC)2 and Dr. Alla Karnovsky of the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics. She will also work with two faculty from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. Michael Puskarich and Dr. Alan Jones; Dr. Jones serves as the principal investigator on the parent clinical trial.
Dr. Stringer will employ metabolomics in severely ill patients. This information will aid in further understanding sepsis phenotypes and possibly identify drug target opportunities.
“Sepsis is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a very challenging clinical problem,” said Dr. Stringer. “Accurate diagnosis is difficult and presently there is no effective drug therapy. One of the greatest hurdles to finding drug targets for sepsis is the heterogeneity of these patients. By using carnitine to probe sepsis metabolism, we expect to better define this heterogeneity which we expect to unveil drug target opportunities.”
The second grant is from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is an Orphan Drug R01 that will fund a phase II safety and efficacy clinical trial of an inhaled tissue plasminogen activator for pediatric plastic bronchitis, a very rare pulmonary disease, that includes a significant metabolomics component.
“This is the first clinical trial of inhaled tPA and represents a culmination of more than 15 years of work that began while I was a faculty member at the University of Colorado,” said Dr. Stringer. “Upon arriving at U-M in 2007, the effort escalated due to the support and collaboration of co-investigator Dr. Regine White (Caruthers), a pediatric cardiology clinical pharmacist and adjunct clinical assistant professor of pharmacy, and co-principal investigator Dr. Kurt Schumacher from pediatric cardiology.”
The grant will fund the study at several other clinical sites around the country including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Cincinnati Children’s, Medical University of South Carolina and Stanford University. In addition to Dr. Schumacher and Dr. White, Dr. Samya Nasr of pediatric pulmonary and Dr. Jeff Myers of anatomic pathology will join the team at U-M, which will serve as the coordinating center.