For over a century, the American Lung Association has funded lung research that has led to significant advances in the fight against lung disease. 

Our commitment to the fight for air has never wavered, from our early efforts in developing effective ways to treat and cure tuberculosis, to our modern focus on a variety diseases and factors that directly impact good lung health.

As part of our commitment to research, the American Lung Association created the Asthma Clinical Research Centers Network (ACRC).  This nationwide system of top-notch asthma researchers and clinicians seeks to conduct large clinical trials with a direct impact on patient care and asthma treatment.

Over the next 12 months, the American Lung Association of the Midland states will be supporting the following lung disease research projects:

Mohammed Shatat, MD


Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Biomedical Research Grant

Molecule Could Play Role in Improving Treatment of PAH

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a serious disease characterized by elevated pressure in the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. This causes the right side of the lung to become strained and, over time, can lead to heart failure. We have found that KLF4, a molecule present in the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels has a protective effect against the development of PAH. We will study the role of KLF4 in regulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which participate in repairing damaged endothelial cells and are being studied for treating PAH. Understanding the role of KLF4 in regulating EPC function may help enhance their use in therapy.

Andreas Schwingshackl, MD, PhD


University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Biomedical Research Grant

Identifying New Targets to Treat Acute Lung Injury

Mechanical ventilation and oxygen therapy are common treatment options for acute lung injury (ALI), although both therapies are known to cause further damage to the lungs. Recent studies suggest that a particu-lar type of ion channel, 2-pore domain potassium (K2P), can sense signals at the cell membrane and convert them into specific cellular functions. The central hypothesis of this proposal is that the K2P channel is regulated by the treatments above and, in turn, regulates the release of inflammatory mediators. Dr. Schwingshackl and team hope to identify these channels as new potential targets for the development of novel treatment strategies against ALI.

Yutaka Maeda, DVM, PhD


Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
Biomedical Research Grant

Eradicating Every Last Lung Cancer Cell

Although lung cancer treatment aims to eradicate tumor cells, in many cases, tumor cells recur after treatment. Identification of recurring lung tumors cells is needed so as not to miss eradicating even one tumor cell. It has been technically difficult to isolate and analyze such cells at the single-cell level. In the past two years, single cell-sequencing technology has been developed and enables scientists to capture individual tumor cells and analyze their genetic profiles. We will use this technology to identify the "Achilles' heel" of individual lung tumor cells, including recurring tumor cell populations, and develop strategies to eradicate every tumor cell.

Bradley Winston Richmond, MD

Bradley Richmond

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
Senior Research Training Fellowship

Infections Could Play Role in Smokers’ Development of COPD

While most patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are current or former smokers, only some smokers develop severe COPD. Differences in frequency or response to recurrent infection may explain why only some smokers develop COPD. Our preliminary data shows that the small airways of COPD patients frequently lack secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA), a protein whose main role is to prevent bacteria from penetrating into the lung. Using mice engineered to lack SIgA, we will examine whether the lack of this protein results in COPD-like lung injury after exposure to bacteria, and whether restoring SIgA in the small airways will prevent these changes from taking place.

Learn More About ALA Research

Asthma Clinical Research Centers

ALA Research Nationwide

Midland States Research Projects 2012-2013

 Midland States Research Projects 2011-2012  

 Midland States Research Project 2010-2011

 Midland States Research Projects 2009-2010

 Midland States Research Projects 2008-2009