American Lung Association Researchers Receive Top Honors from the American Thoracic Society

Washington, D.C. (May 14, 2010)

Robert A. Wise, M.D., professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Director of the American Lung Association's Asthma Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) Data Coordinating Center, will receive the American Thoracic Society's 2010 Distinguished Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to fighting respiratory disease through research, education, patient care and advocacy.  The award will be presented at the Society's International Conference in New Orleans on May 16, 2010.

The ACRC Network is the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma research, and consists of 18 asthma research centers throughout the country, conducting large clinical trials that have a direct impact on patient care and asthma treatment. Since its inception in 1999, the network has completed seven trials leading to 26 published papers in peer-review journals and an additional 37 papers in press or being prepared.  The network has also secured approximately $15.3 million in government funding and 9.3 million in industry and foundation support, in addition to $28 million in American Lung Association support.

"The ACRC Network has accomplished a great deal and has already contributed crucial knowledge in the quest to help people with asthma," said Mary H. Partridge, American Lung Association National Board Chair.  "As Director of the ACRC Data Coordinating Center for the past ten years, Dr. Wise has been instrumental in projecting the ACRC into an extremely successful network."

Dr. Wise's academic career began with the study of cardiopulmonary interactions. Throughout his career he has been involved in clinical research in COPD, asthma and scleroderma, participating in many of the major multi-center research trials in these fields. His interests and accomplishments have ranged over a broad spectrum of lung diseases. He now concentrates on the major airway diseases, asthma and COPD.  He has participated in and chaired a number of NIH multicenter studies, workshops and grant review committees and is currently a member of the Program Project Review Committee (HLBP).

"Dr. Wise is an exemplar clinical investigator, specializing in the difficult but critical 'gold standard' of patient-oriented research, the Randomized Controlled Trial," said Norman H. Edelman, M.D., American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer.  "His contributions to the American Lung Association research program as the director of the data coordinating center for the ACRC have been central to the great success of this program as manifest by extensive NIH support and publication of research results in major journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine. There is no doubt that the well being of many asthma patients has been substantially improved by the findings of these scientific studies."

Additional American Lung Association ACRC investigators receiving awards from the Society include Warren R. Summer, M.D., who will receive the Outstanding Educator Award.  Dr. Summer is the lead primary investigator of the American Lung Association's ACRC Center at Louisiana State University.  The Society will also present a Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishment to Sally E. Wenzel, M.D., a former lead primary investigator of the American Lung Association's ACRC Center at National Jewish.

The ACRC network is currently looking to recruit patients for the following NIH-funded trials.  The Study of Childhood Asthma and Reflux Disease (SARCA), is looking for children, ages 6-17, who have poorly controlled asthma, to examine the role of silent gastroesophageal reflux in asthma and whether treatment for that condition benefits pediatric asthma patients.  The Study of Soy Isoflavones in Asthma (SOYA) is attempting to determine whether a dietary supplement of soy isoflavones is an effective treatment in patients aged 12 or older with poorly controlled asthma.   Lastly, the Study of Asthma and Nasal Steroids (STAN) examines whether treatment of chronic disease of the nose and sinuses with nasal steroids will improve asthma control in patients 6 years or older. 

Wisit the ACRC homepage to learn more and find out if you qualify for participation in any of these three studies.

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About the American Lung Association: Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.