Women’s health research gets funding boost

A settlement Nevada negotiated with pharmaceutical companies is bringing nearly $8 million to women’s health research in the state, including for studies on premature birth, Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.

The Nevada Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday that the University of Nevada School of Medicine is getting $3.8 million over 5 years, and Las Vegas’ University Medical Center is getting another $3.8 million.

“The types of clinical and research projects being supported all have a direct bearing on women’s health and are projects we could not complete without this critical support,” medical school dean Thomas Schwenk said in a statement.

The state sued drugmakers Wyeth, Pfizer and Pharmacia & Upjohn, arguing they misled consumers about the risks and benefits of using postmenopausal hormone therapy products. Former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced last fall that Nevada settled the case and negotiated the donation.

Researchers at the medical school already have plans for the funding. The pharmacology department purchased a super-resolution microscope that’s the first of its kind in Nevada and will aid research on breast cancer and premature birth.

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who’s being treated for breast cancer, said the money will help bring women’s health issues to the forefront.

“In particular, this unique, high-resolution microscope purchased with these funds will further breast cancer research and bring us one step closer to fighting and treating this disease,” she said in a statement.

Medical school faculty are also planning the following projects with the money:

Researching possible connections between Alzheimer’s disease and the use of estrogen-based hormone therapy.

Developing an app to educate women on how often they need pap smears and breast exams.

Establishing a Women’s Heart Center to identify women at high risk of heart disease.

Starting a program to advance preventative care among women with intellectual disabilities.


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