Seattle, WA | October 19, 2007

The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), a Seattle-based non-profit scientific research institute, recently received a $252,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for core research equipment.

The Murdock Trust grant will enable IDRI to assemble an equipment core to enhance its basic research on immune responses against infectious diseases. IDRI’s mission is to research and develop technologies to be used against diseases that continue to burden individuals and countries in the developing world.

IDRI projects enabled under the Murdock grant are focused on chronic infections resulting in leishmaniasis, tuberculosis, trachoma, Buruli ulcer, leprosy, and Chagas disease. Together, these diseases present major public health burdens and cause premature death or disability.

Targeted Diseases

Leishmaniasis, transmitted by the bite of a sandfly and caused by Leishmania infection, is endemic in 88 countries. Approximately 15 million new cases of leishmaniasis occur each year. Visceral leishmaniasis, which causes damage to internal organs, is often fatal if left untreated.

Tuberculosis is a worldwide health problem. Caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, every fifteen seconds someone in the developing world dies of tuberculosis.

Leprosy is endemic in areas of Indian, Brazil, Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, and Tanzania. It is caused by Mycobacterium leprae infection.

Chagas disease, caused by Typanosoma cruzi infection, is endemic in 21 countries in Latin America. It is estimated that 18 million people are affected by this chronic inflammatory disease, which affects the heart and digestive tract and in some cases results in death.

Malaria, a major parasitic disease, is particularly devastating to children in Africa.

New Equipment and Uses

The Murdock Trust core equipment grant will enable IDRI to purchase large equipment that is difficult to obtain with conventional research grant funding. Once implemented, the equipment core will enable IDRI’s researchers to engage in high-throughput and state-of-the-art assays. Expanding IDRI’s basic research equipment core will facilitate the investigation of pathogen-induced immune responses and will help identify new treatment strategies for target infections.

“We are confident we can effectively use this generous grant from the Murdock Trust to perform much needed research about diseases that plague so many millions of people around the world,” says Steve Reed, Founder and Head of Research and Development of IDRI.

About IDRI

The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization committed to applying innovative science to the research and development of products to prevent, detect, and treat infectious diseases of poverty. By integrating capabilities, including early stage drug discovery, preclinical testing, manufacturing, and clinical trials, IDRI strives to create an efficient pathway bringing scientific innovation from the laboratory to the people who need it most. For more information, visit www.idri.org.

IDRI contact:
Erik Iverson | 206.518.6280 | media@idri.org

About M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The M.J. Murdock Charitable trust was established in 1975 by the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, who co-founded Tektronix, Inc. of Beaverton, Oregon, and resided in Vancouver, Washington. The mission of the Murdock Charitable Trust is to enrich the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest by providing grants to organizations that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. Although the major funding interests are education and scientific research, grants are also given to a wide variety of organizations, including those that serve the arts, public affairs, health and medicine, human services, and people with disabilities.

The Murdock Charitable Trust has focused its grant-making efforts in the following five states of the Pacific Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Beyond grant-making and investment, the Murdock Charitable Trust functions to convene groups of people to discuss issues of mutual interest. This practice is of great assistance to the Murdock Charitable Trust in exploring ways of responding to new grant-making opportunities consistent with its mission and, in addition, promotes a sharing of ideas and networking among participants.

For more information, see: www.murdock-trust.org.