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Researchers in the Respiratory Health Axis work collaboratively to characterize the inflammatory nature of a wide range of respiratory diseases: asthma, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, radiation-induced lung injury, oxidative lung tissue and airway damage, cystic fibrosis, obstructive sleep apnea, neuromuscular disease and skeletal muscle dysfunction secondary to chronic respiratory disease, and the role of infection in chronic inflammatory respiratory diseases. Translational experimental approaches are firmly rooted in cellular and animal models, and in the exploration of human tissues. Strong clinical research programs in asthma, COPD, tuberculosis and sleep-disordered breathing are closely linked to specialized clinical programs.
Asthma is perhaps the largest area of research within this axis, reflecting the increased prevalence of this disease, which now affects one in four children worldwide. The natural history of asthma is being addressed through an integrated program focusing on wheezing in children and its relationship to asthma in adulthood, the development of allergy and antigen processing within the respiratory mucosa, and the different mechanisms by which specific infections can affect exacerbation and impact treatment of the disease. Researchers explore new mechanisms that underlie persistent asthma in adults.
Investigations are ongoing to understand the biology and management of young adults with persistent lung complications from premature birth bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). This population presents a new emerging disease in adult respiratory medicine. Researchers are also focused on the care for young adults with chronic respiratory failure from neuromuscular diseases. It reflects advances in ventilatory and other support for this group of severely disabled children.
In this axis, researchers use methodologies that include epidemiologic surveys, clinical trials and research, geographic information systems, molecular epidemiology, and economic analyses. Translational research is paramount, and researchers strive to bring new knowledge to clinical practice, through the education of health professionals, and the development and implementation of guidelines and clinical programs.