BSC Faculty Member Receives a $43K Grant from WV-INBRE for Research in the Application of Natural Products for Immunotherapy

For additional information, contact Jim Nelson/BSC Interim Director of Institutional & Media Relations, (304) 327-4103, jnelson@bluefieldstate.edu
Dr. Tesfaye Belay, Professor of Biology in the Bluefield State College
Dr. Tesfaye Belay, Professor of Biology in the Bluefield State College

Dr. Tesfaye Belay, Professor of Biology in the Bluefield State College School of Arts and Sciences, has been selected to receive a $43,200 grant award from the Center for Natural Product Research of the West Virginia–Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE).

"The research involved in this grant focuses upon investigating the mechanisms in which feeding stressed mice with active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) of mushroom extract restores the immune functions during Chlamydia muridarum genital infection,” Dr. Belay explained.  AHCC is most commonly available commercially in Japan and is used as a nutritional supplement that is taken orally, the BSC faculty researcher added.

Dr. Belay’s research group at BSC has received funding twice previously to conduct research related to AHCC product and mice.  The current grant award permits continued development of a countermeasure/immunotherapy against stress.  The immunotherapeutics studies stem from his ongoing work on the "Effect of stress on pathogenesis of Chlamydia muridarum and immune responses in a mouse model."

The Amino Up Chemical Company of Japan has provided the AHCC supply for the BSC research project’s experimental purposes.  From its first cycle funding of the natural product, Dr. Belay’s research group presented its research findings at several scientific meetings and published two articles.  The BSC faculty member noted that this study of immunogenic and immunostimulator compounds as potential countermeasures to infectious diseases is particularly relevant in the current biomedical research realm. "Our research group is interested in studying the usage of AHCC because it has become increasingly attractive, given the limitations of chlamydia vaccine development," he concluded.