The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded $10 million in first-year funding to establish a clinical research network called Childhood Asthma in Urban Settings (CAUSE). This nationwide network will conduct observational studies and clinical trials to improve understanding of asthma and develop treatment and prevention approaches tailored to children of low-income families living in urban communities. NIAID intends to provide approximately $70 million over seven years to support the CAUSE network.
This new initiative extends and expands NIAID's long-standing efforts to better understand and reduce the disproportionate burden of asthma among children living in low-income urban environments. Since 1991, NIAID has sponsored a series of research programs conducted in urban areas where pediatric asthma is prevalent and severe. Among many accomplishments, NIAID-funded research found that exposure to cockroach allergen is a major risk factor for severe asthma in urban children and that programs to decrease exposures to cockroaches and other household allergens reduce children's asthma symptoms and health care visits. Researchers also established that omalizumab, a drug that reduces immunoglobulin E, can prevent seasonal asthma attacks. In addition, scientists identified molecular pathways that evolve in the nasal passages of children with asthma who had colds that led to asthma attacks.
CAUSE investigators will work together to improve understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to asthma development and severity and develop new strategies to mitigate the impact of the disease in populations of disadvantaged children and adolescents. In addition to this collaborative work, CAUSE clinical research centers located across the United States will conduct locally relevant clinical and translational studies.
The CAUSE network comprises a leadership center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison led by principal investigators Daniel Jackson, M.D., and James Gern, M.D., and the following seven clinical research centers:
- Boston Children's Hospital. Principal investigators: Wanda Phipatanakul, M.D., and Talal Chatila, M.D.
- Children's National Research Institute, Washington, D.C. Principal investigator: Stephen Teach, M.D.
- Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Principal investigator: Gurjit Khurana Hershey, M.D., Ph.D.
- Columbia University Health Sciences, New York. Principal investigator: Meyer Kattan, M.D.
- Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. Principal investigators: Paula Busse, M.D.; Supinda Bunyavanich, M.D.; and Juan Wisnivesky, M.D.
- Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Principal investigators: Rajesh Kumar, M.D., and Jacqueline Pongracic, M.D.
- University of Colorado Denver. Principal investigator: Andrew Liu, M.D.
Alkis Togias, M.D., and Patrice Becker, M.D., in the Allergy, Asthma and Airway Branch of NIAID's Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation, are available to comment on the CAUSE network.
To schedule interviews, please contact Hillary Hoffman, (301) 402-1663, NIAIDNews@niaid.nih.gov.
NIAID conducts and supports research--at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide--to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.