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Four California Researchers Included in Lung Association Research Team for 2019-2020

(November 20, 2019) - San Francisco, CA

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With a vision of a world free of lung disease, the American Lung Association funds a wide range of research to improve lung health, including lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pulmonary fibrosis and more. Today the organization shared its 2019-2020 research team which includes John Albeck of the University of California – Davis; Sunitha Kaiser of UCSF; Billy Loo of Stanford University and Dimitri Petrov, also of Stanford. The Lung Association also has increased its research investment to $8.7 million, through awards for both our Airways Clinical Research Center (ACRC) Network and its innovative Awards & Grants program. This announcement comes at an important time, as November is both Lung Cancer Awareness Month and COPD Awareness Month.

“The Lung Association is extremely proud to support the lifesaving work of the four California researchers working to end lung disease on the American Lung Association 2019-2020 Research Team,” said Allison Hickey, Executive Vice President of the American Lung Association in California. “We are growing our commitment to support groundbreaking research in service of our mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.”

The Awards and Grants Program provides investigators with the funds, at all levels of their career, to conduct novel and promising research to prevent, treat and even cure lung disease. The ACRC is the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma and COPD treatment research that promises to have a direct, positive impact on patient care.

Research projects funded by the Lung Association are carefully selected through rigorous scientific review and represent the investigation of a wide range of complex issues to help combat and reduce the suffering and burden of lung disease. See project overviews of all funded projects at

2019-2020 Research Grantees in California include:

John Albeck, Ph.D., University of California - Davis

John’s work focuses on preventing illnesses of a protective layer around the lungs called the lung epithelium. His findings will contribute to efforts to change cell behavior to manage lung cancer, fibrosis, and other aging-related disorders of lung epithelial dysfunction.

Sunitha Kaiser, M.D., Ph.D., University of California – San Francisco

The aims of Sunitha’s proposed research are to identify hospital characteristics and pathway implementation interventions that promote sustained delivery of high-quality care for children with asthma in general hospitals.

Billy Loo, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine

Billy’s research will delve deeply into developing ultra-fast (FLASH) radiation therapy for those with cancer. This more precise use of radiation has been found to be more effective at killing lung cancer cells while reducing damage to normal organs.

Dimitri Petrov, Ph.D., The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University (Stanford)

Dimitri’s work will focus on better understanding genetic changes that researchers have found work together to drive tumor growth. This work will allow scientists to develop more complex and realistic tumor genotypes necessary to model and understand human tumors.

Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of both women and men in the U.S. During November’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative is dedicated to increasing awareness about the risk of this deadly disease and uniting Americans to raise funds for critical lung cancer research. The Lung Association is funding many research grants dedicated to lung cancer research, including the Lung Cancer Discovery Award.

COPD is by itself the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. The Lung Association is using this November – COPD Awareness Month – as an opportunity to educate Americans on all aspects of COPD including causes, prevention, disease management and treatment and how to find patient and caregiver support. The Lung Association is also funding several studies focused on COPD, in addition to the ongoing clinical trials being conducted by the ACRC.


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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