UB awarded $240k grant to research Krabbe Disease in honor of Hunter Kelly

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A federal grant will benefit a cause near to the hearts of many western New Yorkers — Krabbe Disease, which took the life of Jim Kelly’s son Hunter James Kelly.

The grant — which totals $239,250 — will be awarded to the University at Buffalo Hunter James Kelly Research Institute, to aid in the treatment of newborns and developing early and accurate diagnosis of the disease.

Congressman Brian Higgins announced the grant on Friday, saying exceptional research “is providing promising advancements toward achieving better detection and treatment for Krabbe Disease.”

Lawrence Wrabetz, the director of the Hunter James Kelly Research Institute at UB, explained there are new tests on the horizon that will be able to improve the accuracy of testing and promoting the importance of testing.

“The purpose of the grant is to collect enough real data, that is, from drops of blood from a newborn’s heel spotted onto filter paper, to test that simulation,” Wrabetz said. “Currently, only New York, Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois are performing newborn screening for Krabbe Disease, but other states will soon begin screening, emphasizing how important it is to solve this problem.”

The award is a result of the Institute’s partnership with Hunter’s Hope Foundation, which Jim Kelly created to benefit research of his son’s fatal disease.

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