New Pitt Research and the Asthma Institute

Serious researchers looking at computer screen in the lab
Research Collboration

New research at the Asthma Institute has shown promise for those dealing with severe forms of asthma. Though patients with severe asthma only account for ten percent of the patient population the calculated cost and necessary resources to care for these patients can be astronomical due to the high incidence of hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

For the study, conducted as part of the doctoral thesis of Mahesh Raundhal, a graduate student in the laboratory of Prabir Ray, Ph.D., Pitt professor of medicine and co-senior author, the research team examined lung cell samples obtained from patients also participating in the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP), a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health-sponsored program to improve the understanding of severe asthma. Sally Wenzel, M.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute of UPMC, serves as the Pitt SARP principal investigator.

The researches found that the CD4-T immune cells in the airways of those with severe asthma secreted different inflammatory proteins than those secreted by those with milder forms of the disease. Analyzing the human cells obtained through the SARP study helped them to develop a mouse model of the disease and better understand its representation in humans.

Developing a mouse model can be vital to developing an understanding of possible disease causes and treatments. This project also signifies the benefits seen through collaboration between scientist, immunologist and clinicians at UPMC and Pitt in addition to any other avenue that brings scientist together.

In addition to Drs. Wenzel and Anuradha Ray, the project leaders of this grant are core leaders Timothy B. Oriss, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and Jay Kolls, M.D., of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, who also co-authored the JCI paper. Other members of the research team are Prabir Ray, Ph.D., and Fernando Holguin, M.D., Douglas Landsittel, Ph.D., and Donald DeFranco, Ph.D., all of Pitt.

We look forward to seeing even more ground breaking research discoveries at Pitt and UPMC.



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