Lung Genomics Research Consortium Launches Website

The Lung Genomics Research Consortium (LGRC) today launched its public awareness website, which highlights the Consortium’s recently established research initiative to study lung disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and interstitial lung disease (ILD), at the genetic and genomic levels. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in Americans, while ILD, which includes pulmonary fibrosis, kills approximately 400,000 Americans each year.

The LGRC is led by scientists from five major U.S. research institutions: National Jewish Health, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the University of Pittsburgh, Boston University, and the University of Colorado at Denver. Scientists from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Michigan are also participating in this effort. The Consortium was formed to collect, merge, and analyze genomic and clinical data on lung disease, making these available to the broader scientific community via a Web-accessible “data warehouse.” Researchers can use this resource to study why some people suffer from lung disease while others don’t, develop tools for earlier diagnosis, and tailor treatments to an individual’s unique genetic
makeup.

The LGRC’s website (www.lung-genomics.org) serves as both a public education platform on genomics-based lung disease research and a portal for investigators. Besides outlining the LGRC’s mission and goals, the site provides information about genome sequencing, whole-genome expression analysis, genome-wide association studies, and other advanced technologies that have emerged from the Human Genome Project and are being used in innovative ways to uncover the mysteries still surrounding lung disease.

The LGRC is funded by a two-year $11 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), appropriated for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Visitors to www.lung-genomics.org will learn how the Consortium is applying this “stimulus” funding toward improving the lung health of all Americans, while advancing science and creating jobs.

According to the project’s contact principal investigator, David Schwartz of National Jewish Health, “The LGRC project is an unprecedented effort to understand the genetic factors that contribute to lung disease and a tangible result of the ARRA funding that went to the NIH.” Adds John Quackenbush of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, “This website exemplifies our commitment not only to outstanding science, but to communicating what we are doing to the public, whose tax dollars support our work.”

Other principal investigators are Dr. Avrum Spira from Boston University, Drs. Naftali Kaminski and Frank Sciurba from the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr. Mark Geraci from the University of Colorado at Denver.

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