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Established in 2009, the Asthma Institute at UPMC is a network of allergists, pulmonologists, and pediatricians all working collaboratively on clinical, translational, and basic research. The Difficult Asthma Clinic and research lab focuses on cell biology, immunology, and environmental influences which regulate asthma clinical manifestations.
The mission of the Asthma Institute is to increase the scientific understanding of asthma and allergic diseases across all ages, to translate these findings into innovative approaches and to implement these approaches in the asthma community through of the integration of scientists, clinicians, educators, patients, and the community.
Key areas of focus for the Asthma Institute include:
The Difficult Asthma Clinic specializes in improving the lives of people whose asthma continues to affect their daily life, including interactions with family and friends, work, and school. The Clinic uses new diagnostic procedures to identify the distinct asthma phenotype that the patient has to personalize the management and treatment.
Eosinophils is a normal blood cell associated with asthma and other allergic/immune disorders. When this cell is present in high numbers, it may predict the presence of a more complicated form of lung disease than regular asthma. This clinic specializes in understanding the reasons for these high numbers of eosinophils and directing therapy to specifically lower their numbers.
The Asthma and Allergic Inflammation Program is focused on the investigation of fundamental biologic mechanisms in asthma and allergic inflammation. Sally Wenzel, MD, spearheads both clinical and bench research projects in the area of asthma and allergic inflammatory disorders of the lung.
The program combines advanced principles in basic bench investigation with a comprehensive translational research program. Clinical research efforts focus on better definition of severe asthma phenotypes to better understand disease pathogenesis, and to improve treatment of severe asthma patients. Bench research projects focus on the molecular mechanisms of inflammation in allergy and asthma, mechanisms that induce tolerance to antigens, and approaches to treating severe asthma using cellular biology and genetic tools.