Canada Research Chair in Airway Inflammometry
Tier 2 - 2005-10-01
RESEARCH INVOLVESMeasuring inflammation by non-invasive methods, such as in sputum, to improve treatment during exacerbations and to modify smooth muscle biology to limit chronic changes associated with airway diseases such as asthma and COPD.
RESEARCH RELEVANCEThe research is leading to a better treatment of airway diseases such as asthma and COPD.
BREATHING EASIER: NEW TREATMENTS FOR AIRWAY DISEASESAsthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) afflict more than 20 million people in North America and approximately one in five Canadians. Treatment costs are in the billions and there are more cases of them every day.
Airway inflammation is at the heart of both diseases, aggravating acute exacerbations and the more chronic structural changes that occur in association with them. Canada Research Chair Dr. Parameswaran Nair hopes that by studying the cellular mechanisms of both the acute and chronic conditions, he'll be assisting the development of better treatments.
Scientists now use a reliable and relatively non-invasive method to measure the presence and nature of airway inflammation: they study the individual's sputum. Once the doctors have properly diagnosed the acute inflammatory processes, they can select an appropriate therapy. In his present research, Nair is advancing the development and clinical application of such non-invasive measurements, particularly in patients with difficult-to-control asthma and prednisone-dependent asthma. (Prednisone is a synthetic hormone that relieves inflammation and is used in the treatment of a variety of diseases including asthma.)
The chronic changes in the airway wall from the aforementioned diseases largely involve the formation of scar tissue (extracellular matrix) and an increase in smooth muscle. Nair suspects that this accumulation of smooth muscle comes from the migration of smooth muscle. He is clarifying how this happens and in the process, investigating new therapies to diminish the deposition of smooth muscle and matrix that occurs in chronic airflow limitation.