University of Utah Researchers Receive $3m to Understand Genetics of Asthma & Pollution: A Personalized Intervention

University of Utah Researchers Receive $3m to Understand Genetics of Asthma & Pollution A Personalized Intervention

University of Utah researchers have received a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to study how variations in pollutant-sensing genes in the lungs could influence air pollution effects on children who have asthma. The researchers believe that the newly funded effort could possibly lead to the development of personalized medical interventions capable of treating or even preventing the disease.

The Problem

Although Salt Lake City, the largest city in Utahm is surrounded by stunning mountainous landscapes, it has one of the worst air pollution problems in the winter with the phenomenon known as the “inversion layer.” It especially impacts the youth. About 6% of Utah children younger than 18 have asthma, reports the Utah Department of Health. Asthma, a chronic lung disease causing inflammation of the airways and difficulty breathing, is responsible for 2,800 emergency visits, 780 hospitalizations and up to 30 deaths among Utah children annually. Nationally the disease afflicts about 8% of children and accounts for more than 625,000 emergency room visits and hospital stays each year, reports the Centers for Disease Control and ...

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