Research Partnerships

To extend our research impact to better support lung disease patients, the American Lung Association is continually seeking innovative ways to expand and enhance the impact of our research program.

We have recently embarked on a number of exciting collaborations and partnerships to leverage available research funds and extend the impact of research findings.

The American Lung Association through the LUNG FORCE initiative has financed its single largest investment in lung cancer research to date. In collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer and the LUNGevity Foundation, we are co-funding two new research awards designed to cover a range of approaches for the early detection and interception of cancer, or treatment before the cancer takes hold.

The Stand Up To Cancer–LUNGevity – American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team will develop diagnostic tools, such as nasal swabs, blood tests and radiological imaging to confirm whether lung abnormalities found on chest imaging are benign lung disease or lung cancer. New blood tests will help identify patients at the earliest stages of recurrence, enabling timely interventions such as immunotherapy to protect against the recurrence of disease that was successfully treated.

  • Leader: Avrum Spira, M.D., professor of medicine, pathology and bioinformatics, and director of the Cancer Center at Boston University-Boston Medical Center.
  • Co-leader: Steven Dubinett, M.D., associate vice chancellor for research at UCLA and director of the lung cancer research program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Representing a long-standing joint effort to promote and support research on advancing the understanding of allergic respiratory diseases, the American Lung Association co-funds three awards with the AAAAI and AAAAI Foundation.

Miranda Curtiss is furthering examining genetic approaches from parasitic infections that cause immune system activation to allergic disease and has identified genes that are important in the interactions between the cells that initiate and maintain allergic inflammation (dendritic cells) and the effector cells that cause inflammatory damage during allergic reactions (T cells). They will extend our studies from parasitic infections into mouse models of allergic asthma to test the roles of these.

Juan Carlos Cardet from the University of South Florida is investigating Genetic Markers for Severe Asthma. Investigating genetic variation may lead to a better understanding of severe asthma and more effective and cheaper therapies. By examining the genes of patients with severe asthma from large, multi-ethnic studies to see if variation in RGS2 and other genes relates to severe asthma, we will determine whether airway cells engineered to contain these genetic variations behave more like asthmatic airway cells. The goal is to find genetic markers that can inform new therapies that target genetic variations, improving patient outcomes.

The Lung Association is partnering with the American Thoracic Society and the CHEST Foundation to co-fund two research grants. The first of these is intended to support investigators that will address topics on improving clinical outcomes in preventing and/or treating lung disease in groups disproportionately impacted; the second is intended to support an investigator who is a person of color that is doing clinical research in a pulmonary disease that disproportionately affects communities of color. The selected awardees:

Ayobami Akenroye, MD, MPH
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
ALA/ATS/CHEST Foundation Respiratory Health Equity Research Award

Metabolomic Profiles of Patients with Severe Asthma on Inhaled Corticosteroids and on Omalizumab Although many individuals with asthma require long term treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), and recent guidelines for asthma management have expanded the indications for ICS use, little is known about the long-term effects of ICS. It is also unclear if the use of omalizumab, a monoclonal antibody approved for asthma treatment mitigates any of the potential side effects. Using metabolomics techniques, a method that studies small molecules (metabolites)in the body, we have found that inhaled steroids cause more adrenal suppression than previously recognized. In this study, we seek to: 1.) Characterize any changes in metabolites over time in individuals with severe asthma on ICS, and 2.) To characterize any changes in metabolites over time in individuals with severe asthma taking omalizumab and (b.) To assess whether omalizumab slows down or reverses adrenal suppression or other changes caused by ICS use. By looking at these changes by age, sex, and race/ethnicity, we may also identify subgroups that are more prone to these side effects or more likely to benefit from omalizumab.

Matthew Triplette, MD, MPH, BA
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Assisting in Smoking Cessation and Lung Cancer Screening in Indigenous People in SeaTle (ASSIST)

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) men and women and AIANs have the higher rates of smoking than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. Previous research suggests AIANs face several health disparities including reduced access to preventive health services. Lung cancer screening (LCS) with low-dose chest CT can reduce mortality for high-risk current and former smokers, particularly when combined with effective tobacco cessation. LCS involves a multiple step process through a multifaceted medical system; patient navigation can help AIAN screen eligible individuals overcome complex and multilevel barriers to LCS. We will partner with local AIAN stakeholders and patients to develop, pilot, and evaluate a culturally tailored LCS navigation program including smoking cessation, which we believe will increase the uptake of successful screening and smoking cessation in this population. This is the first study to pilot and evaluate directed and tailored efforts to implement evidence-based LCS and smoking cessation among AIAN screen eligible persons through a LCS navigation intervention.

The American Thoracic Society (“ATS”), the American Lung Association (“ALA”) and the American College of Chest Physicians (“CHEST”), agree to participate together on activities regarding the ATS/ALA/CHEST jointly funded Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program was created to increase the number of faculty from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who can achieve senior rank in academic medicine, dentistry, or nursing and who will encourage and foster the development of succeeding classes of such physicians, dentists, and nurse-scientists. Four-year postdoctoral research awards are offered to historically disadvantaged physicians, dentists, and nurses who are committed to developing careers in academic medicine and to serving as role models for students and faculty of similar background.

We have teamed with the Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF) to support research that fosters the development of surgeon scientists to promote our mutual goal of increasing knowledge and advancing innovation in ways that benefit patient care. We are cofounding the research of Adam C. Soloff, Ph.D. and the University of Pittsburgh.

Page last updated: November 7, 2023

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