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Allergy/asthma and cystic fibrosis (CF) focus of awareness in May

This press release is also available in French.

OTTAWA New research initiatives announced just in time for both Allergy/Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Awareness Months will focus on developing a better understanding of the ways in which people respond to exposure to infectious agents in the lungs.

Understanding the role of the immune system in lung disease is the focus of new research projects funded through a $4.5 million partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institutes of Infection and Immunity and Cardiovascular and Respiratory Health, AllerGen, a Network of Centres of Excellence based at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF). CIHR funding for this initiative is part of a larger package recently announced by the Minister of Health. These projects will be conducted at a number of Canadian universities and associated hospitals, and will bring together leading experts from a range of scientific disciplines to network on key research questions in this area.

The mucous membranes of the respiratory tract represent a major site of exposure of humans to allergens and infectious agents, yet much of our knowledge of the immune response comes from studying generalized infections and infections at non-mucosal sites. The lung represents a particularly important and understudied site of this interaction between infectious agent and its host.

Statistics from the World Health Organization reported 4.4 million deaths throughout the world in 2003 resulting from acute bacterial and viral lower respiratory tract infections. While many people suffering from lung infection do not die, the lives of millions of Canadians are affected every year, with major impacts on health care system costs and loss of productivity. A recent study has suggested that uncontrolled asthma cases in adults an
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Contact: Jasmine Sharma
mediarelations@cihr-risc.gc.ca
613-941-4563
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
8-May-2006


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