PHILADELPHIA, PA | November 23, 2020
In an effort to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, the American Lung Association invests in promising lung health research. The organization recently announced an investment in 98 promising lung health research awards, including for local researcher Karim Bahmed, Ph.D., from Temple University and Johnathan Whetstine, Ph.D., from Fox Chase Cancer Center, for a combined research investment of $150,000. The American Lung Association funds a wide range of research to improve lung health, including COVID-19, lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis and more.
“More than 36 million Americans are living with lung disease, placing them at increased risk for the most severe impacts of COVID-19. The American Lung Association recognizes that now is a crucial time to champion lung health, and is investing in promising lung health research, including with Dr. Karim Bahmed at Temple University and Dr. Jonathan Whetstine at the Fox Chase Cancer Center,” said American Lung Association Chief Mission Officer Deborah Brown. “We’re proud to support promising scientists to help us realize our vision of a world free of lung disease.”
Lung Cancer Discovery Award
Dr. Whetstine’s research at Research Institute of Fox Chase Cancer Center, titled “Enzyme Could Help Predict Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Chemotherapy,” was given the Lung Cancer Discovery Award and received $100,000 for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Whetstine’s research aims to define how KDM4A works in lung cancer cells, and whether levels of the enzyme are an important predictor of the effectiveness of chemotherapy against lung cancer.
“The support from the American Lung Association and the Lung Cancer Discovery Award has allowed us to push this novel area of discovery forward and helped us start to understand how lung cancer cells are able alter their DNA copies so they can change their response to therapies. These studies tell us that not all DNA alterations in cancer cells are random but are regulated processes, which allows for therapeutic intervention in the future,” said Whetstine.
Dr. Karim Bahmed’s research at Temple University, titled “Protecting Alveolar Cells in Emphysema,” was given the Catalyst Award and received $50,000 for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Dr. Bahmed’s research aims to define the mechanism of mitochondrial DNA damage in alveolar cells to determine whether a protein called XLF, which is involved in mitochondrial DNA damage repair, protects cells against this disease development and can serve as a novel therapeutic target. Targeting XLF can provide a new strategy to repair alveolar cells and slow down the development of emphysema.
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 improve the lives of those living with a lung disease.
For more information about the American Lung Association research award recipients and projects, visit Lung.org/research-team. For media seeking an interview with a COVID-19 researcher or lung health expert, contact Valerie Gleason at [email protected] or 717-971-1123.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. 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: Lung.org.
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