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San Antonio a mecca for research of aging (7-7-99)

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio garnered more federal dollars for aging research in Fiscal Year 1998 than any other institution in the state, according to a new report.

Scientists in the Health Science Center's Aging Research and Education Center (AREC) received 25 grants in FY 1998 for a total of more than $5.2 million from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the federal agency that supports the majority of aging research in this country.

AREC officials announced receipt of the NIA report in mid-June. The center coordinates the efforts of more than 150 Health Science Center faculty members involved in research studies and clinical care with an emphasis on aging. The NIA is part of the National Institutes of Health.

The AREC is leveraging the federal funding with donations from private philanthropies, including a $1 million gift from the Brown Foundation of Houston, Texas. That gift is enabling the AREC to develop proposals for a one-of-a-kind, world-class research facility--a place where scientists/physicians will develop and employ state-of-the-art molecular techniques to discover genes that enhance health and longevity.

Contributions made by AREC scientists will yield understandings and discoveries about aging, resulting in improved quality of health throughout the human life span, said Arlan G. Richardson, Ph.D., AREC director and professor of physiology. Holder of the Methodist Hospital Foundation Chair in Aging Studies, Dr. Richardson also is a career scientist with the South Texas Veterans Health Care System.

AREC faculty in the Health Science Center's graduate, medical, dental, nursing and allied health schools conduct projects supported by $28 million in federal and private grants. The projects ask fundamental questions such as, "What activates genes in the elderly to cause them to be more susceptible to developing cancer?" Other projects include improving the life of seniors through specialized geriatric care programs and instructing teachers about classroom curricula on aging.

Contact: Will Sansom