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Our mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease is sustained by the important lung disease research projects we fund each year. This research, made possible through your enduring and generous support, is the key to our lifesaving mission.

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Scientific research is the front-line weapon in eliminating the terrible toll of lung disease on our families and loved ones. Through research, we strive to find better methods of detection, treatment and ultimately cures to a host of lung diseases, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

Consider these facts:

  • During 2016, there will be close to 160,000 deaths from lung cancer, representing close to 27 percent of all cancer deaths.
  • Asthma affects more than 6.3 million children under 18, and more than half of those have experienced an asthma flare-up during the previous year.
  • COPD (chronic bronchitis and emphysema) is the third-leading cause of death in America, just behind heart disease and cancer.

Our Research Team Fighting Lung Disease

The American Lung Association Research Team is a nationwide network of researchers funded by the American Lung Association to find better treatments and cures for lung disease. In 2015-16, the American Lung Association is supporting 69 research projects, through our Awards and Grants program. Our funding, including the Airways Clinical Research Network, totals $6.49 million and will be used to advance our understanding of lung disease. And, as part of our LUNG FORCE initiative to fight lung cancer, the Lung Association will be doubling our investment in lung cancer research. Meet a few of our researchers fighting lung disease:

Jessica Oakes, PhD

The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley
Determining Electronic Cigarettes' Effect on Health

Electronic cigarettes are widely used by people who believe they are a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes. Yet their safety has not been scientifically proven. Nicotine and glycol, two main ingredients in e-cigarette aerosols, have been linked to disease. Therefore, it is crucial to determine if these ingredients have significant negative impact on human health. We will use computers to simulate the transport and deposition of e-cigarette aerosols in models of the human airways created from CT images. These simulations will provide answers to where and how much of the e-cigarette aerosols are retained in the various regions of the lung. Simulation results may be used in future toxicology studies that aim to relate e-cigarette concentration to airway disease.

Read more about Dr. Oakes' research.

Peggy Lai, MD, MPH

Massachusetts General Hospital
Supported by the Mary Fuller Russell Fund
How Indoor Air Pollution from Chickens Can Affect Lung Health in Rural Africa

Indoor air pollution leads to premature deaths worldwide, and is one of the most important risk factors contributing to the global burden of lung disease. We will study how microbes in the indoor environment change after the introduction of chickens to the environment in rural Uganda, and how these microbes can colonize in the airways of people in contact with the chickens and affect lung health. We will also study whether immune suppression due to HIV affects the ability of microbes in our environment to colonize the airways. The findings will allow us to develop future interventions to protect the health of susceptible populations.

Read more about Dr. Lai's research.

Samir Soneji, PhD

Trustees of Dartmouth College
Funded by the American Lung Association of the Northeast
Does the Effectiveness of CT Screening Translate into Real-World Benefits?

For the first time, a tool used in screening for lung cancer has been shown to reduce lung cancer deaths. The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) concluded that CT screening, compared to chest X-ray, reduced lung cancer mortality by 20%. Yet the effectiveness of CT screening demonstrated in NLST may not translate to similar reductions in lung cancer deaths as screening occurs in everyday practice. Barriers, including lack of knowledge and high rates of treatment-related complications, may reduce the benefit of CT screening. We will assess the challenges facing patients to fully realizing the benefits observed in NLST. The study will improve clinical practice and narrow racial disparities in lung cancer mortality.

Read more about Dr. Soneji's research.

Research Update

Evaluation of Anxiety in Patients with COPD (ACE)

In a recent prospective study, anxiety was found to be common in COPD patients. This anxiety has been associated with hospital readmission and compromised quality of life. Since many symptoms of COPD and anxiety overlap, using standard anxiety assessments designed for the general population may not properly identify anxiety in COPD sufferers. The goal of the Anxiety and COPD Evaluation (ACE) study is to validate this scale by administering the Anxiety Inventory for Respiratory Disease (AIR) questionnaire to 200 participants with COPD. Confirming the accuracy of this scale will help us understand the association between COPD exacerbations and anxiety, and lead to better understanding of the causes of exacerbations and better methods of treatment for these patients. Learn more about Airways Clinical Research Centers studies.

LUNG FORCE

Now in its second year, LUNG FORCE is gaining momentum and making lung cancer a national priority. We’ve doubled our funding for lung cancer research. We've also created a new research award, LUNG FORCE Research Innovation Project: Lung Cancer in Women, which grants $400,000 over three years to support investigators focusing on clarifying and understanding the impact of lung cancer in women. But that's not all:

  • Nearly 46,000 new Team Turquoise members joined LUNG FORCE
  •  Through vigorous advocacy efforts we played a leading role in getting Medicare to cover low-dose CT lung cancer screening, and successfully advocated for a 22 percent increase in federal lung cancer research funding.
  • We held more than 15 LUNG FORCE Expos, 50 LUNG FORCE Walks and 8 LUNG FORCE patient panels.
  • We saw a 240 percent increase in news stories about lung cancer in women and our #SHAREYOURVOICE video  reached more than a million views

Learn more about LUNG FORCE »


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