Boston Researchers Awarded 5 Lung Association Grants Totaling $350,000 to Study Lung Disease, Tobacco Policy and Lung Cancer Survivorship

Recipients belong to cohort of researchers receiving a total $12.6 million in research funding from the American Lung Association

As new and pressing lung health challenges emerge with the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change and youth e-cigarette use, researchers have been at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs. Here in the Boston area, five distinguished scientists are being awarded research grants to help change how lung diseases, including COVID-19 and lung cancer, impact people’s lives.

“These researchers are part of an elite team that join the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Nearly 37 million Americans live with lung disease, and as we face new challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, lung health research is more important than ever,” said Karen Whitefield, executive director for the American Lung Association in Massachusetts. “We are proud to have these researchers on our team to help us realize our vision of a world free of lung disease.”

The Lung Association announced that it increased its research funding to award $12.6 million for over 100 research grants. The funded projects address a wide range of lung health topics, including COVID-19 in children, the public health impacts of e-cigarette policy and lung cancer in never smokers.  In the Boston area, grants went to researchers including:  

  • Edy Kim, M.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc., will research the causes of a less commonly studied type of lung scarring called unclassifiable lung fibrosis (uILD), with the goal that findings could lead to a possible new therapy for lung scarring.
  • Krishna Reddy, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital (The General Hospital Corp.), will use a novel simulation model of tobacco and nicotine use to project the impact of various e-cigarette policies on e-cigarette use, tobacco smoking, and downstream health effects among U.S. youth and adults. The findings will provide clinicians and public health officials with data to inform policy decisions around e-cigarettes.    
  • Shumin Tan, Ph.D., Tufts University, will study a protein (mycobacterium tuberculosis or “Mtb”) that causes tuberculosis, a lung disease that is the leading cause of death globally from an infectious disease. By gaining a greater understanding of this protein, we will lay the foundation for new ways to disrupt the bacterium’s ability to grow in its host, which will have vital implications for successful treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.    
  • Lara Traeger, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital (The General Hospital Corp.), will study the survivorship needs of adults with lung cancer who receive treatment with curative intent yet face high risk that their cancer will return. This group is rarely included in survivorship research, making this study a critical step toward addressing a critical but neglected phase of lung cancer care.    
  • Camila Lopes-Ramos, Ph.D., President and Fellows of Harvard College, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, will aim to better understand gene regulation and the factors that drive the observed sex differences in lung adenocarcinoma. The study will provide insights into why some therapies have differential effects in men and women, and new ways to optimize therapeutic responses in each sex, ultimately leading to clinical studies directed toward improving lung cancer treatments.    

Dr. Traeger said, “"Research funding from the American Lung Association makes a direct difference in the lives of patients facing a range of lung diseases and the doctors treating them.  I'm honored to be a part of Lung Association's esteemed network of researchers studying lung cancer care and survivorship." 

Research projects funded by the Lung Association are carefully selected through a rigorous review committee and represent the investigation of a wide range of complex issues to help reduce the burden of lung disease. Awards are given in eight different categories: ALA/AAAAI Allergic Respiratory Diseases Award, ALA/ATS/CHEST Foundation Respiratory Health Equity Research Award, Catalyst Award, COVID-19 Respiratory Virus Research Award, Dalsemer Award, Innovation Award, Lung Cancer Discovery Award, and Public Policy Research Award.

In total, $12.6 million was awarded to more than 100 grants, including seven new COVID-19 research grants. Meet the full Lung Association research team, including current awardees and their full abstracts at Lung.org/research-team.

To schedule a media interview with a Lung Association researcher or lung health expert, contact Jen Solomon at 516-680-8927 or [email protected] 
 

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Solomon
(516) 680-8927
[email protected]

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