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Funding Important Work

Peter Smoak

Peter Smoak, Ph.D. candidate. Photo by Woody Myers

November 18, 2019

UNC Receives Grant to Study Benefits of Kefir for Cancer Patients

Earlier this year, UNC’s Cancer Rehabilitation Institute (CRI) was awarded a $7,000 grant from uBiome to study how kefir impacts the microbiome of cancer survivors who underwent chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Kefir is a fermented milk beverage with low levels of lactose and high levels of probiotics that stay in a person’s intestines and gut longer than other probiotic products. Cancer survivors may suffer from inflammation, altered immune functionality and gut dysbiosis due to their chemotherapies and other treatments. Kefir could help these issues by promoting healthier microbiomes.

Over a 12-week span, the researchers, led by doctoral student Peter Smoak, gave 12 cancer survivors kefir and compared them to survivors who did not ingest kefir.

Researchers Receive $1 Million Grant to Study Digital Screening Intervention Tool for Adolescents and Young Adults

With unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections at epidemic proportions among young people, a study is underway to evaluate an intervention system that leverages the latest technology in clinical settings for earlier identification of high-risk adolescents.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded UNC a $1 million grant to collaborate on the project with cliexa, a digital health technology company based in Denver. The funding supports a trial involving 700 participants, ages 14-24, in clinical settings where cliexa’s risk screening tool (a digital platform and mobile health follow-up program) will be in use. The study sites are the UNC Student Health Center, UNC Psychological Services Clinic and Montrose County Family Planning.

The ground-breaking two-year study, led by Principal Investigators and UNC Professors William Merchant and Stephen Wright, will also assess the effectiveness of deploying the new technology in clinical workflows and the benefits of earlier identification of adolescents at highest risk for adverse health outcomes.