The Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) has awarded a pilot grant to Freddy Caldera, DO (pictured at right and above), assistant professor (CHS), Gastroenterology and Hepatology, for a proposal entitled “Identifying inflammatory bowel disease patients with altered immunity at risk for herpes zoster." The grant provides nearly $50,000 over one year.
People living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are often treated with immunosuppressive therapy to control chronic inflammation of the gut. However, this leaves them at risk of herpes zoster infection, commonly known as shingles. Reactivation of dormant varicella zoster virus (chicken pox) can result in an extremely painful rash when T cell function declines due to immunosuppression.
The study will investigate whether people with IBD experience altered cell-mediated immunity to varicella zoster virus, causing increased risk of HZ in this population. If so, the results could support recommendations for universal herpes zoster immunization for all IBD patients above the age of 40.
Mary Hayney, PharmD (pictured at right), professor (CHS), School of Pharmacy, is co-principal investigator for the project. Dr. Caledera is mentored by Dr. Hayney. Collaborators include Arnold Wald, MD, professor (CHS) and Sumona Saha, MD, MS, associate professor (CHS), both of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.