The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine has received a five-year, $750,000 grant from the American Lung Association (ALA) for continued funding for its successful Asthma Clinical Research Center (ACRC). One of only 20 ALA Asthma Clinical Research Centers in the United States, UMKC shares the designation with universities such as Northwestern, Duke Medical Center, Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California-San Diego. Johns Hopkins serves as the data coordinator for all the Centers.
The UMKC School of Medicine’s ACRC is only one portion of its overall lung research. To help support additional lung research, UMKC has established a multidisciplinary Lung Research Center with its School of Medicine providing $50,000 in start-up funds.
“We had an excellent start with our nationally recognized asthma research, but the new designation of the Lung Research Center gives us powerful support to expand UMKC’s lung research,” said Dr. Gary Salzman, director of the Center and professor at the UMKC School of Medicine. “It allows us to turn basic research findings into new, innovative treatments for lung diseases.”
The UMKC Lung Research Center will support cooperative, interdisciplinary research by highly skilled specialists from the UMKC School of Medicine and associated staff at its affiliated hospitals: Truman Medical Centers, Children’s Mercy Hospital and Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. The Center allows medical doctor (MD) lung specialists, pharmacologists, nurses, basic scientists (PhDs), and respiratory therapists to create and translate the results of basic research into new, improved treatments for lung disease. Because the UMKC Center will be involved in innovative research and new treatments, local patients will be among the first in the country to experience cutting-edge therapies for lung diseases.
“We are delighted and encouraged to hear of UMKC’s new Lung Research Center,” said Lori Pickens, CEO of the American Lung Association of Missouri. “It shows Missouri and the rest of the nation that the Midwest continues to demonstrate its leadership in lung health research with nationally renowned doctors and top-notch research institutions such as UMKC.”
The UMKC Lung Research Center will collaborate with the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute and the Greater Kansas City Asthma Coalition. Furthermore, its presence in the local community will benefit Kansas City adult asthmatics, 51 percent of whom go to the emergency room at Truman Medical Center for asthma-related problems.
“This grant from the American Lung Association could very well lead to additional grant money from the National Institutes of Health,” said Dr. Betty Drees, dean of the UMKC School of Medicine. “A special thanks to our affiliated hospital partners as we begin another journey together. We’re destined to help Kansas City residents reap significant health care benefits from our collaborative efforts.”
Using the ACRC’s multi-center collaborative research model, UMKC and its partners recently completed a study evaluating the influenza vaccine in children and adults with asthma in one year instead of the three to five years it would have taken a single center to complete the study.
In addition to the start-up funds, other funding, primarily from external sources, is already in place. UMKC officials expect extramural funding to cover expenses for faculty, staff and equipment in subsequent years.
The Asthma Clinical Research Centers, in Kansas City and St. Louis, are part of a nationwide network of American Lung Association Research Centers that comprise the largest network of researchers studying asthma that is not sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. The ACRC has completed clinical research that will have a profound impact on people living with asthma. Several studies are currently underway. For more information on asthma, allergy and other local respiratory clinical trials, please call 816-235-1869.
UMKC is one of fewer than 30 research universities in the United States that has medicine, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy education programs all located on one campus. The UMKC School of Medicine offers a combined baccalaureate/doctor of medicine degree program that admits students out of high school. The program provides students with early and ongoing clinical experience through teams of students, physicians and other health-care providers. The UMKC School of Medicine also offers residency training in 13 specialties and 21 subspecialty residency programs. The school partners with Children’s Mercy Hospital, Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City, Truman Medical Centers and Western Missouri Mental Health Center.