Molecular Roadmap for Chronic Lung Diseases

Lung Genomics Research Consortium 

NHLBI Awards $11 Million to Create a Molecular Roadmap for Chronic Lung Diseases

National Jewish Health, University of Colorado Denver, University of Pittsburgh,
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston University in joint project

David Schwartz, MD

David Schwartz, MD, Director of The Center for Genes, Environment, and Health

National Jewish Health and four other research centers have beenawarded an $11 million, two-year grant from the National Heart Lung andBlood Institute as part of the NIH Recovery Act that will allow a teamof national scientists to delve deeply into the biology of two fatallung diseases for which there are few therapeutic options. Themulti-center Lung Genomics Research Consortium will use advancedgenetic and molecular tools to characterize and better understand chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary fibrosis, then share its discoveries with researchers around the world in a web-accessible data warehouse.

"Our aim is create a genetic and molecular treasure trove for theresearch community to redefine these lung diseases precisely andunequivocally," said David Schwartz, MD, one of the lead researchers on the project and Director of TheCenter for Genes, Environment, and Health at National Jewish Health."The genetic, epigenetic, transcriptional, and phenotypic data wegenerate will provide an unprecedented window into the origins, dynamicbiological features and unique presentations of these diseases. It willallow researchers to make fundamental discoveries that help identifyindividuals at risk for these diseases, diagnose them earlier, anddevelop more effective, personalized treatments."

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leadingcause of death in the United States. The incidence of pulmonaryfibrosis has doubled over the past decade, and now kills about 40,000Americans each year. There are few effective treatments for eitherdisease, and both diseases are fatal.

Researchers will study tissue samples from the NHLBI Lung TissueResearch Consortium biorepository then combine the data they generatewith pathobiological, clinical and radiological data already gatheredfor these samples. The biorepository now contains almost 1,300 wellcharacterized tissue samples and collects about 250 additional samplesper year from patients with COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and other chroniclung diseases.

This project will be led by a team of principal investigators,including David Schwartz, MD, at National Jewish Health, Mark Geraci,MD, at the University of Colorado Denver's School of Medicine; NaftaliKaminski, MD, and Frank Sciurba, MD, at the University of PittsburghSchool of Medicine; John Quackenbush, PhD, at the Dana-Farber CancerInstitute; and Avrum Spira, MD, at Boston University School ofMedicine.