Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have been awarded a $12.8 million grant to improve the diagnosis and predict the therapeutic response of several lung diseases.

The five-year grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health establishes Children’s and the University of Pittsburgh as a Specialized Center of Clinically Oriented Research in Pediatric Pulmonology. The award is designed to facilitate rapid translation of basic research findings into therapies for specific and troublesome diseases.

One focus of the research will be to understand why and how Aspergillus (a group of ubiquitous molds) causes lung damage in patients with suppressed immune systems. This is particularly important for the health of children because this mold can cause significant lung damage in cystic fibrosis and asthma patients, according to the researchers.

In other contract news:

Icor Partners (Arlington, Virginia), a public-sector strategy, transformation, and business improvement consulting firm, reported that it has been awarded a one-year contract to provide program management services to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services . The new agreement is an exercised option from an existing Icor contract with ONC.

Icor will work principally with the Immediate Office of the National Coordinator to collect, analyze, and interpret a range of ONC, HHS, federal, and private-sector health information technology (HIT) information and provide management support services in strategic planning, operational and performance planning, and resource planning.

Icor will also provide support to ONC in the areas of program oversight, program integration, contract management, and financial management for national-level HIT initiatives that are planned or under way.

Strategic Laser & MedSpa (Carpinteria, California) has requested, and Current Technology (Vancouver, British Columbia), maker of hair loss treatments, has granted, a further extension of their interim sales agreement to Oct. 6, providing for the placement on a revenue-sharing basis of the company’s TrichoGenesis platform products in the U.S.

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