Among the many ways that NIH supports and promotes asthma research is through its strong relationship with National Jewish Medical Research Center in Denver. National Jewish has been conducting research for more than 80 years and is rated as one of the top 10 independent biomedical research institutions—of any kind—in the world. Asthma is the top disease treated and studied at National Jewish, and NJRC works with four different NIH asthma programs:
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Childhood Asthma Management Program
- NHLBI Childhood Asthma Research and Education Network
- NHLBI Asthma Clinical Research Network, and
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Inner City Asthma Consortium
NIH funds research all across the globe, and has worked closely with NJRC to supply grants for the important asthma research going on there. Ongoing NJRC projects include investigations of the following:
- nocturnal asthma,
- steroid-resistant asthma,
- pollution and asthma,
- obesity and asthma,
- viruses and asthma, and
- how early life exposures to allergens may help protect children from asthma.
Some of NJRC's most important research addresses the underlying causes of asthma. Erwin Gelfand, M.D., Chairman of Pediatrics, recently received a major NIH grant to do just that. The grant renews a project that initially began almost 20 years ago to focus on mechanisms of the underlying inflammation in asthma. The novel research findings continue to translate into new therapeutic strategies.
Another important study could help physicians decide definitively whether to prescribe antibiotics for asthma patients. (See accompanying story.) In pediatric asthma, doctors are studying and treating the progression of asthma, infant wheezing that leads to asthma, and severe asthma.