LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 25, 2012) — David Feola, a University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy faculty member in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, received a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue his research investigating immune responses in the lungs that will potentially lead to the discovery of medical treatments for patients with cystic fibrosis and other chronic pulmonary inflammatory conditions.
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening disease that causes mucus in the lungs to become too thick, which leads to severe pulmonary complications. This disease is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults, affecting 30,000 children and adults in the United States and nearly 70,000 people worldwide, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Feola’s research lab focuses on the regulatory function of macrophages, an immune cell type that kills invading pathogens and controls inflammation, in patients with chronic pulmonary inflammatory diseases. Cystic fibrosis causes progressive, life-threatening lung damage due in large part to repeated, dysregulated inflammatory responses to bacterial infection.
Preliminary research in Feola’s lab suggests that inducing specific types of macrophage activation could blunt this dysregulated inflammation. This research will lead to discovery of specific drug targets that could slow or halt this destructive cycle of inflammatory injury and pulmonary function decline in these patients.
“It is our hope that this research funding will provide us a greater understanding on how cystic fibrosis works, discover novel ways of treating the disease, and how we might be able to improve quality of life for these patients,” said Feola, who also is a two-time graduate of the UK College of Pharmacy. Feola received his PharmD and PhD from the College.
Feola’s grant is an investigator-initiated Research Project (R01) award, which is being funded by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. R01 grant funding has become increasingly competitive due to the nation’s current economic condition.
“The funding of this NIH grant is a testament to Dr. Feola’s skill, expertise, tenacity and perseverance in pursing this support for his research program,” said Linda Dwoskin, associate dean for research for the UK College of Pharmacy. “I am extremely happy for him, his lab and the pharmacy practice and science department. I look forward to hearing about the great discoveries that result from Dr. Feola’s research on cystic fibrosis.”
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