In the news / Respiratory

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In an interview with MD Magazine, Dr. Monica Kraft, Department of Medicine chair at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, detailed her session on interpreting gender sex differences in lung disease, and what clinicians need to know when monitoring and caring for women at risk of asthma.
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Firefighters and advocates from across Arizona gathered Thursday for the first meeting of a state Senate ad hoc committee tasked with tackling the issue of cancer among first responders. During the first meeting, the University of Arizona’s Dr. Jeff Burgess gave a presentation on his nearly 20 years of studying
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Researchers, including UA COM-T Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine professor and BIO5 faculty member Dr. Donata Vercelli, are beginning to explore the various ways that microbes in the soil might protect us and benefit our health. This marks a turning point in soil research, as scientists used to hold the belief that soil is nothing more than a matrix to hold plants and minerals.
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It seems Valley Fever is spreading. Some of the increase may be explained by improved diagnosis, but other factors are also at work; including increased migration and visitation to the Southwest where coccidioidomycosis is endemic. The director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence and BIO5 member Dr. John Galgiani, weighs in on the challenges and progress regarding the development of a vaccine for the disease.
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Clean Earth Tech, a startup of UA Biomedical Engineering assistant professor and BIO5 member Dr. Minkyu Kim, is commercializing a newly invented biocompatible dust control polymer. The aim is to provide companies with a way to suppress dust without negatively impacting the environment.
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Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that has been associated with increased mortality. A UA physician-scientist has worked alongside BIO5 faculty members Drs. Raymond Woosley and Bonnie Lafleur, resulting in the awarding of a grant for research to analyze databases from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Banner Health, to better understand the relationship between the sleep disorder and death.
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The Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care or EPIC project was funded by a $3.6 million grant from the NINDS, part of the NIH. Before EPIC, first responders were taught to hyperventilate people with a TBI. The researchers behind EPIC including BIO5’s Drs. Kurt Denninghoff and Chengcheng Hu showed that, during hyperventilation, internal carbon dioxide levels fall and this constricts the brain’s blood vessels depriving the brain of blood and oxygen.
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Dr. Jeff Burgess, UA Associate Dean for Research in the College of Public Health, researches the exposure firefighters encounter when they first start their careers, to the end of their service. Dr. Burgess’ research has already been used to help the Tucson Fire Department, who are working with other local groups to assemble wash kits used to limit the exposure of first responders to cancer causing chemicals.
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Researchers have found that emphysema may be a unique risk factor for aneurysm, potentially giving doctors another tool to identify people with aneurysms
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UA College of Medicine-Tucson professor and BIO5 Member Dr. Donata Vercelli, notes the discovery of the microbial world has just begun, but is already revolutionizing biology and medicine. Dr. Vercelli will present a lecture on the subject as part of the 2019 UA College of Science Lecture Series.
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The Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center is leading a study aimed at increasing inhaler use among elementary school children. "The question isn't 'Does the medicine work?' It is ‘Does using this approach to delivering the medication work?’ It is about how best to help at-risk children miss less school days and have less hospital admission," said BIO5 Institute's Dr. Kurt Denninghoff, Associate Director of the of Center.
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The cost to society of childhood asthma is more than AIDS and tuberculosis combined, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The numbers are “staggering,” says BIO5's Dr. Donata Vercelli, UA Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Associate Director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center. Vercelli and collaborators have conducted groundbreaking research with children from Amish and Hutterite communities to find out what in the environment protects the Amish children from contracting asthma.
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Dr. Jefferey Burgess, BIO5 member and Dean of Research at the UA College of Public Health, who has researched firefighters and cancer for more than 25 years, says the evidence shows firefighters are regularly exposed to carcinogens in the field, and that firefighters are diagnosed with cancer more than the general public.
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Dr. Esther Sternberg, BIO5 member and Research Director for the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, explains how the body's relaxation response, activated through deep-breathing, can oppose its stress response. "Deep-breathing turns on the vagus nerve enough that it acts as a brake on the stress response," says Dr. Sternberg.
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A $4.4 million grant from the Department of Defense will help BIO5 Institute's Dr. Louise Hecker and her team, including fellow BIO5 member and medicinal chemist Dr. Vijay Gokhale, test two drug candidates for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis – a deadly disease with no cure.
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Fungal infections such as aspergillosis, blastomycosis, and coccidioidomycosis can settle in the lungs if you unknowingly inhale spores in the air.  Dr.  John Galgiani, BIO5 member and an infectious-disease specialist at the UA College of Medicine talks about signs, symptoms, and how to treat an infection local to Arizona, Valley Fever.
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Recent legislation introduced by Rep. McCarthy is being hailed by valley fever advocates and researchers as a huge step forward in combating the disease, which is on the rise locally. “I think (the bill) is appropriately drawing attention to a problem which is every bit as intense as polio was before its vaccine for the susceptible populations,” said BIO5's Dr. John Galgiani, director of the UA Valley Fever Center for Excellence.
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The Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center has been awarded a five-year $6.9 million grant to continue to study the effects of arsenic, air particulates, sunlight and other environmental factors affecting the health of individuals residing in arid climates worldwide. BIO5 members Dr. Jeffrey Burgess, associate dean of research and professor at the UA College of Public Health, and Dr. Dean Billheimer, co-director of the integrated health sciences facility core and leader of the data science resource at the center, discuss the opportunities the new grant will provide.
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UA researchers including BIO5 members Dr. Frederic Zenhausern, Director of the UA Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Medicine, and Dr. Louise Hecker, UA Associate Professor of Medicine, have received a three-year, $750,000 grant from the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission to study lung infections such as Valley fever and inflammatory conditions such as sarcoidosis in a plant model.
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A physician-scientist whose research on asthma is world-renowned, Dr. Monica Kraft, Professor and Chair of the UA Department of Medicine, has received the American Thoracic Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award. The award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to fighting respiratory disease through research, education, patient care or advocacy.
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The Arizona Biomedical Research Commission has recognized 14 researchers from the UA Health Sciences to receive grant awards totaling more than $5.92 million. Eight of those researchers are BIO5 members, including Dr. Frank Duca, Dr. Louise Hecker, Dr. Tally Largent-Milnes, Dr. John Purdy, Dr. Benjamin Renquist, Dr. Todd Vanderah, Dr. Jun Wang, and Dr. Frederic Zenhausern.
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Incidences of Valley Fever have climbed steadily, rising to 5,358 in 2016, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Dr. Galgiani, member of BIO5, heads the Valley Fever Center for Excellence, which has up-to-date information on risk factors, diagnosis and treatment.
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Stefano Guerra, BIO5 member and associate professor in the UA Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, has received a $3.6 million, five-year grant to study the protein CC16, a biomarker of injury to epithelial cells that line the lungs and are believed to be a protective mediator in the airway inflammatory process.
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More so than others, obese asthma patients struggle with control of their disease — and symptoms that worsen with time. A duo of BIO5 Institute researchers, Dr. Monica Kraft and Dr. Julie Ledford, found an explanation and have begun developing a therapy to address it.
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The UA Valley Fever Center for Excellence is at the forefront of research into the disease, working toward a possible cure using nikkomycin Z in clinical trials. Tucson scientists including Dr. John Galgiani director of the UA VCFE and BIO5 Faculty member are also working on a vaccine. Both nikkomycin Z and the vaccine have come out of UA.
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Research being done by a team of BIO5 researchers could very possibly lead to the future of asthma prevention. By studying dust found in homes and barns on Amish farms, these scientists believe they can revolutionize the next generation of drugs to treat asthma.
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Oftentimes misdiagnosed, Valley Fever afflicts up to 150,000 people each year. Dr. John Galgiani heads the Valley Fever Center of Excellence at the University of Arizona and is on a mission to spread awareness, and find a cure, for this potentially life-threatening disease.
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BIO5 Researchers Drs. Julie Ledford and Monica Kraft, are looking to genetics as a possible new treatment for Asthma. They’re studying the protein surfactant, which is one of the most abundant proteins in the lungs and is known for helping people clear out infections.
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A UA clinician team made up of BIO5 members Drs. Julie Ledford Monica Kraft, use genetics as a guide focused on turning research into new treatments for asthma and other lung diseases. They have discovered that genetic mutations in a protein associated with asthma can affect a person’s susceptibility to a variety of lung diseases — and could lead to new treatments.
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Davis-Monthan Air Force Base partners with UA’s Valley Fever Center of Excellence and College of Agriculture to study the relationship between the respiratory disease and turf grass, focusing on the health of Air Force working dogs.
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Renowned biomedical engineer and former BIO5 Institute assistant director Dr. Jennifer Barton, has been named interim director of the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona. Dr. Barton follows Dr. Fernando Martinez, recently named inaugural director of the UA Health Sciences’ Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center.
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BIO5's Dr. John Galgiani, founding director of the UA Valley Fever Center of Excellence, lead multiple free talks for professionals and the public during Valley Fever Awareness Week. UA Valley Fever Center for Excellence continues pressing forward in efforts to get a potentially curative anti-valley fever drug, nikkomycin Z, or NikZ, into clinical trials.
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BIO5's Dr. Fernando Martinez was honored with the award for achievement in medical research at the Influential Health and Medical Leaders awards. After watching his mother suffer asthma attacks when he was a child, Martinez went on to devote his professional career to trying to cure the disease.
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Multiple BIO5 members were honored at the 2015 Influential Health and Medical Leaders Awards, hosted by Tucson Local Media. Two members, Dr. Leslie Boyer and Dr. Fernando Martinez, went home with awards.
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BIO5 member, and director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence, Dr. John Galgiani, lends his expertise on the illness to The Weather Channel. The article outlines eight symptoms that could indicate Valley Fever.