An Illinois Wesleyan University scientist has received a National Institutes of Health grant to study sickle cell anemia. Chemist Brian Brennan will use the $285,000 to look into proteins that cause the malformation of red blood cells in certain people. The painful condition can lead to organ damage. Brennan says major drug manufacturers aren't interested in work on the disease because it affects relatively few people in the U-S, about 100,000 residents. But, up to 25% of the population in west and central Africa has the mutation that causes the disease. It is an adaptive trait that provides partial resistance to the most deadly form of malaria. IWU is the only small liberal arts institution in Illinois to receive an NIH research grant in the last two years.
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