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Asthma

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Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Centers (AADCRCs)

Asthma and allergic diseases such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis), food allergy, and eczema (atopic dermatitis) are common conditions for all ages in the United States.

In 1971, NIAID established the Asthma and Allergic Diseases Centers, the first targeted program to promote research in the fields of asthma and allergic diseases. Initially, seven centers were funded. Today there are 11, known collectively as the Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Centers (AADCRCs).

The AADCRC program remains the cornerstone of NIAID efforts to promote multidisciplinary basic and clinical research on the immunological basis, pathobiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of asthma and allergic diseases.

On this page:

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Research goals

AADCRC research aims to

  • Investigate the role of the immune system in the development, treatment, and prevention of asthma and allergic diseases
  • Determine how immune responses to viral and microbial infection may contribute to the development or worsening of asthma and allergic diseases
  • Determine how the microbiomes of the environment and those within various parts of the body may play a preventive role or contribute to the development or worsening of asthma and allergic diseases
  • Understand the role that pollution and environmental allergens may play in the development and worsening of asthma
  • Translate discoveries into medical practice, with a focus on new immune-based therapies and preventive approaches for asthma and allergic diseases

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Current projects

AADCRC investigators conduct clinical research studies on asthma and allergic diseases, as well as respiratory infections, to explore

  • Causes of and new treatments for aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease, a severe form of asthma
  • Mechanisms by which respiratory viral infections and airborne allergens, such as cat dander, may result in airway remodeling, damage, and scarring of the bronchial tubes in people with asthma
  • Mechanisms that influence the severity of respiratory syncytial virus and rhinovirus-induced illnesses and their long-term consequences, including the development of asthma, in children
  • The role of Mycoplasma toxins as important mediators of acute and chronic airway diseases, including new onset asthma and asthma exacerbations, as well as persistent pulmonary dysfunction in children and adults
  • The role of T cells in the response to an allergen at the mucosal surfaces of the lung and the gut
  • Genes and molecular defects in the barrier cells of the airway, the skin, and the gut that may lead to allergic disease
  • The role of the major histocompatibility complex protein, human leukocyte antigen-G, in modulating the airway inflammation that is critical to chronic asthma
  • Effects of inflammatory molecules, interleukin (IL)-13 and IL-17, on the airways of people with asthma
  • Mechanisms by which peanut allergen immunotherapy can induce immune tolerance in children and adults with peanut allergy

The AADCRC program is conducting the following clinical trials and observational studies (see ClinicalTrials.gov for more information on individual clinical trials; observational studies are not included in ClinicalTrials.gov):

  • An Interventional Study of Milk Allergy and Tolerance in Children; NCT00778258
  • Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) and Xolair® (Omalizumab) in Cow's Milk Allergy; NCT01157117
  • Therapeutic Control of Aspirin-Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (Aspirin); NCT01597375
  • Effect of Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist on Inhalation of 20,000 EU Clinical Center Reference Endotoxin in Normal Volunteers (Kintox); NCT01369017
  • T Cell Effector and Regulatory Mechanisms in Asthma; NCT01612936
  • Induced Tolerogenic Dendritic Cell Therapy for Allergic Diseases; NCT01711593
  • A First-in-Human Safety and Dose-Finding Study of New Type-16 Human Rhinovirus (RG-HRV16) Inoculum in Healthy Volunteers; NCT01769573
  • The “Infant Susceptibility to Pulmonary Infections and Asthma Following RSV Exposure” (INSPIRE) observational study

    Studies have shown that some children who are infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) during infancy are at high risk of developing asthma. However, it is not possible to predict who will ultimately develop asthma and, consequently, who might most benefit from vigorous attempts at preventing early viral infection. This observational study is recruiting approximately 2,000 infants during their first 6 months of life and will document and characterize all respiratory infections during their first year. The children will be followed for 3 to 4 years and will be monitored for the development of recurrent wheeze and asthma. The study will also analyze biomarkers of lung injury and host immune responses.

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Participating AADCRC sites

  • Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston—Joshua Boyce, M.D.
  • Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati—Gurjit Hershey, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston—Andrew Luster, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Stanford University, Palo Alto, California — Stephen Galli, M.D.
  • University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine—David Broide, M.D., Ch.B.
  • University of California, San Francisco—Dean Sheppard, M.D.
  • University Of Chicago, Chicago—Steven White, M.D. and Carole Ober, Ph.D.
  • University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio—Joel Baseman, Ph.D.
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison — James Gern, M.D.
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville—Stokes Peebles, M.D.
  • Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis—Michael Holtzman, M.D.

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Notable AADCRC publications

Using an integrated approach that combines basic, translational, and clinical research on asthma and allergic diseases, AADCRC investigators have made the following scientific advances:

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Last Updated February 26, 2013

Last Reviewed March 30, 2011