McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Mac researchers to help Canadians breathe easier

Published: May 9, 2006
Zhou Xing
Zhou Xing

A team of researchers from McMaster University is among leading experts from across Canada who have received $4.5 million in funding to conduct studies aimed at developing a better understanding of the role of the immune system in lung disease.

The money is being provided through a partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), AllerGen, a Network of Centres of Excellence based at McMaster, and the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF).

The research projects will be conducted at various Canadian universities and associated hospitals, and will bring together experts from a range of scientific disciplines to network on key research questions in this area.

Researchers hope to develop a better understanding of the immune response in the lung, as it pertains to diseases caused by pneumonia, emerging infectious agents such as avian influenza or the SARS virus, tuberculosis and multi-drug resistant organisms, all of which can cause dramatic changes in the lung’s protective immune response.

At McMaster, the research that is part of this initiative is being led by Zhou Xing, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine.

Other members of the McMaster research team are Jack Gauldie, Director of the Centre for Gene Therapeutics, Manel Jordana, a professor of pathology and molecular medicine, and Martin Stampfli, an associate professor.

The McMaster project has been funded at $217,125 per year over three years.

Through this research they hope to establish complex experimental models of exposure to viruses, bacteria or allergens, to provide new knowledge in the development of respiratory diseases that will eventually lead to more effective prevention and treatment strategies.

In addition to the millions of death that occur world-wide annually as a result of respiratory tract infections, the lives of many millions more are affected by such illnesses, with major impacts such as loss of productivity and health care costs. A recent study suggested that uncontrolled asthma cases in Canada alone generate medical and other costs of $170 million annually.

The research funded by the partnership between CIHR, Allergen and CCFF was announced as part of Allergy/Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month.

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