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Pulmonary biology and lung diseases

Support innovative, timely and high impact research to better understand basic, translational or clinical sciences related to pulmonary and lung diseases.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), acute and chronic lower respiratory infections and lung diseases are leading causes of death worldwide. Most COPD is related to cigarette smoking, while 10 to 15 percent of COPD cases occur in individuals who have never smoked. In California, the prevalence rate is 12 percent for chronic lung diseases, namely pediatric and adult asthma and COPD. This creates a large disease and economic burden in the state.

Under this priority, TRDRP supports research that is crucial to understanding the etiology and mechanisms of pulmonary and lung diseases, especially those that are induced by tobacco use or exposure. While all forms of nicotine are known to impair lung function, the use of aerosolized nicotine in new electronic tobacco products and marked uptake of these products need to be studied to respond to rising health consequences in pulmonary lung diseases.

NOTE: Lung cancer-related research topics are being addressed under the 'Cancer Prevention, Treatment, and Biology' research priority.

Sub-focus areas

  • Mechanistic studies to better define COPD
  • Etiology of asthma; basic to advanced research to understand and develop diagnostic approaches, especially for children of disproportionately-affected populations
  • Upper respiratory tract inflammation and infections
  • Immune system-mediated disorders of lung
  • Acute and chronic disease related to new and emerging tobacco products
  • Lung development, pre-natal and neonatal lung exposure to tobacco toxins
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to prevention and treatment of lung diseases
  • Regional and societal heterogeneity and epidemiological assessments of exposures that are determinants of lung diseases
  • Cannabis use or exposure leading to pulmonary health consequences, both in co-use settings of tobacco smoke or alone

Examples of relevant research topics

  • The molecular mechanisms and genetics of underlying differences in COPD susceptibility and progression, including gender differences
  • Clinical research focusing on functional status assessment and goal setting for patients with COPD using spirometry tests, as well as tobacco screening and use status
  • Airway hypersensitivity and inflammation, such as asthma and emphysema
  • Effective and new diagnostic and therapeutic options to treat lung diseases
  • Epigenetics of immune-mediated pulmonary diseases
  • Inflammatory responses and mechanisms in chronic bronchitis
  • Educational prevention on lung health and tobacco use, especially for youth and communities with disparate rates of tobacco use