From Our Chief Medical Officer

Influenza has become a media darling—and rightfully so—as a new flu strain, H1N1, surprised everyone with its arrival earlier this year and has focused America's attention on the reality of the flu. It is a dramatic reminder of the seriousness of the flu, which together with pneumonia claims more than 36,000 American lives each year. But influenza is just one in a spectrum of infectious lung diseases that affect millions.

Volunteers built the American Lung Association around an impassioned fight against an infectious lung disease that claimed entire families at the turn of the last century and remains an epidemic in some parts of the world—tuberculosis (TB). More than 100 years later, our research program connects scientists from all over the country in their individual and common focus to find treatments and cures for lung diseases—including emerging infections—that impact people worldwide. They share the promise that their research will contribute to science's evolving disease knowledge, building on one another's ideas, so that their work ultimately can improve individual lives.

Mary Ann DeGroote, M.D., personifies that scientific quest, as she collaborates with colleagues at Colorado State University and others a half-continent away to uncover potential treatments for non-tuberculous mycobacterium disease—an increasingly common group of  infections that is extremely difficult to treat. In this issue of Promise Of Research, we also introduce you to Sue Rahr, a Sheriff and mother who understands personally and professionally how immunizing yourself against the flu can protect the community and those you love.

All the gains we have made in understanding and treating infectious lung diseases rest with the innovative approaches and tenacious, tedious work of researchers. Their commitment to finding answers holds the key to the promise of effective vaccines, new treatments, and cures.

Norman H. Edelman, M.D.