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National Jewish, Brigham and Women's Awarded $37 Million to Identify Genes and Other Risk Factors that Influence the Development of COPD
Date:10/10/2007

DENVER, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers from National Jewish Medical and Research Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital have been awarded a $37 million grant from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to lead the most comprehensive study of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) ever undertaken. The multi-institutional study will seek to identify the genetic, epidemiological and radiological characteristics of COPD, with a long-term goal of better understanding the disease and finding more effective treatments.

"COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and yet we know so little about the disease," said James Crapo, MD, professor of medicine at National Jewish and co-principal investigator of the study. "This study will help us determine which smokers are most at risk of developing the disease, who is most likely to have progressive disease, and how to more effectively treat it."

"Our goal with this massive project is to discover genes responsible for this chronic lung disease and to develop a comprehensive data sharing plan so that this study will become a national resource for the scientific community," said Edwin Silverman, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at BWH and co- principal investigator of the study.

The 16 clinical study centers involved will enroll a total of 10,500 participants, 3,500 of whom will be African American, a population whose COPD rates are rapidly growing and whose risk factors have not been adequately studied.

COPD is an umbrella term for a variety of progressive lung diseases, most commonly emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which damage lung tissue and make it difficult to breathe. Cigarette smoking causes the vast majority of COPD cases, but breathing in other kinds of lung irritants may also cause the disease. A mutation in the alpha-1 antitrypsin gene accounts for about one to

two percent of COPD cases, but researchers hypothesize oth
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SOURCE National Jewish Medical and Research Center
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