Temple Times Online Edition
    APRIL 7, 2005
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Temple joins NIH group to investigate new COPD treatments

Temple has been chosen as one of 10 research sites by the National Institutes of Health for its COPD Clinical Research Network. The three-year, $1.6 million project will be led by Gerard Criner, professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and director of pulmonary and critical care at Temple University Hospital. Through the network, researchers will investigate new treatments for moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

Temple University is the only site in Philadelphia to join the consortium, which includes the University of California–Los Angeles, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the University of Pittsburgh.

COPD is the fourth-leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, accounting for more than 600,000 hospitalizations and 119,000 deaths annually. Each year, more than $15 billion is spent on direct medical costs for COPD, and approximately $9.9 billion is lost in reduced worker productivity. Patients suffering from COPD may experience difficulties ranging from breathlessness to lung failure. COPD patients also are at risk for exacerbations (when the disease suddenly worsens) that often require hospitalization and significantly affect quality of life.

Temple, renowned for its comprehensive lung disease patient care, research and education program, was recently named a Pennsylvania Center of Excellence in Lung Disease Research.

As such, the University is leading a statewide research effort to determine why some groups, such as African Americans and rural residents, are at greater risk for COPD than other groups.

Co-investigators on the COPD Clinical Research Network are Gilbert D’Alonzo, professor of medicine; Wissam Chatila, associate professor of medicine; Steven Kelsen, professor of medicine; Samuel Krachman, professor of medicine; and Friedrich Kueppers, professor of medicine.

– By Eryn Jelesiewicz