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Global TB Epidemic Larger than Estimated, American Lung Association Continues Tradition of Funding Research to Investigate TB, Save Lives

(November 1, 2016) - CHICAGO

For more information please contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

CHICAGO (November 1, 2016) – Despite being treatable and curable, tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. While largely controlled in the United States, a new report finds the worldwide tuberculosis epidemic, including multidrug resistant tuberculosis, is larger than previously estimated. As part of the American Lung Association Research Team, the American Lung Association is currently funding five research studies to address this global epidemic.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that usually infects the lungs but can attack almost any part of the body, and is spread from person to person through the air. The World Health Organization’s new “Global Tuberculosis Report 2016” found 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide and 480,000 new cases of multidrug-resistant TB.

“TB can often be fatal if it's not treated but taking medicine as directed can almost always cure TB. However, drug resistance emerges when anti-TB medicines are used inappropriately, such as through incorrect prescriptions, poor quality drugs or even if patients stop treatment prematurely,” said Norman Edelman, M.D., senior scientific advisor to the American Lung Association. “Multidrug-resistant TB is a very dangerous form of TB, and may be spread to others.  Thus when the drugs are misused or mismanaged, the health of the world is put at greater risk.”

In the 2016-2017 Research Awards Nationwide report, the American Lung Association announced it is funding five awards and grants focused on TB, including:

Pamela Wearsch, PhD, Case Western Reserve University
American Lung Association Biomedical Research Grant
Particles in TB Membrane Could be Target for Treatment

Yasu S. Morita, PhD, University of Massachusetts Amherst
American Lung Association Biomedical Research Grant, funded by the American Lung Association of the Northeast
Developing New TB Drugs That are Not Resistant to Antibiotics

Molly Franke, ScD, Harvard Medical School
American Lung Association Social Behavioral Research Grant, funded by the American Lung Association of the Northeast
Understanding Missed Diagnoses and Treatment Delays in Pediatric TB

Gillian Beamer, VMD, DACVP, PhD, Tufts University
Funded in partnership with the American Lung Association of the Northeast
Seeking to Identify Genes That Contribute to TB

Eyal Oren, PhD, Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona
American Lung Association Social Behavioral Research Grant
Using Texting to Encourage People to Take Their TB Medicine

The American Lung Association was founded in 1904 in response to tuberculosis, and research funded by the organization identified an effective treatment to prevent the further spread of the disease. The organization’s work drove to greater awareness of the disease, including prevention and treatment, and TB is now largely controlled in the U.S.

“Driven by the idea that citizens could do something about TB, the American Lung Association was the first to combine the energies of physicians and laypersons in the fight against death and disease,” said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. “While we now have effective treatments for tuberculosis, our world is still struggling to control the disease and we’re faced with multidrug resistant tuberculosis. The American Lung Association today continues to fund promising lung health research, including projects investigating tuberculosis and multidrug-resistant TB.”

“When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters,” Wimmer said. “With a vision of a world free of lung disease, we funded more than $6.5 million in lung disease research this year, and we’ll continue to partner with both citizens and scientists to support research to improve lung health and save lives.”

For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tuberculosis or the American Lung Association Research Team, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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