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Iowa Researcher Joins American Lung Association Research Team

Lung Association expands research investment to $8.7 million, making headway on its commitment to double its investment in research

(November 20, 2019) - DES MOINES

For more information please contact:

Jill Thompson
[email protected]

Today, the American Lung Association announced its new research team, which includes Johanna Uthoff from the University of Iowa. This year, the organization has also 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 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month.

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 cancer and 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.

Uthoff was given the Lung Health Dissertation Award for her project, titled “Lung Cancer Risk Assessment Using Quantitative Imaging.”

Patients at high-risk of developing lung cancer undergo an increasing amount of medical imaging procedures to detect and assess tumors. The resolution of these clinical scans generates a rich dataset, which is visually read by radiologists, using only the human-perceptible information to identify, diagnosis, and evaluate disease states. Uthoff proposes to use the rich image information more completely by extracting objective, quantitative characteristics of tumor texture, shape, and size. The image characteristics will then be ranked by their effectiveness at describing a disease state, specifically cancerous versus noncancerous distinctions. From the ranking, a computer-aided-diagnosis tool will be created using artificial intelligence techniques to predict a tumor's cancer risk. This tool can be integrated into the clinical pipeline providing a risk summary for radiologists, which would improve treatment planning and reduce data waste.

See project overviews of all funded projects at


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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