Dr. MeiLan K. Han Receives 2018 Solovy Award for COPD Research

Respiratory Health Association (RHA) is pleased to name MeiLan K. Han, MD, MS, Associate Professor and Director of the Women’s Respiratory Clinic at University of Michigan Health System, as recipient of the 2018 Solovy Award for Advancement in COPD.

Two women holding the 2018 Solovy Award for Advancement in COPD.

Kathleen Hart Solovy presents the 2018 Solovy Award for Advancement in COPD to Dr. MeiLan K. Han on June 28, 2018.

Dr. Han has published nearly 200 publications on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), particularly COPD in women and risk factors for acute exacerbations. Dr. Han serves on many national scientific advisory boards and is a member of the prestigious Global Obstructive Lung Disease scientific committee which is charged with developing an internationally recognized consensus on COPD diagnosis and management.

Dr. Han is devoted to ensuring the best COPD care is available to patients who need it. Dr. Han has inspired a large number of junior physicians to pursue careers in COPD research and direct care of people living with COPD. Dr. Han’s scientific work, commitment to her patients and impact on advancing COPD care embody the meaning of the Solovy Award.

The award was presented to Dr. Han by RHA board member Kathleen Hart Solovy as part of RHA’s year-end reception on June 28, 2018. Funding for the award is provided by the Kathleen Hart Solovy and Jerold S. Solovy Endowment for COPD.

RHA Announces Local Lung Disease Research Awards

RHA Announces Local Lung Disease Research Awards

We recently selected our 2018 research grant awardees! These Chicago-based researchers were granted funding for their research in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and lung cancer.

Catherine Bonham, M.D., from the University of Chicago Medicine received RHA’s 2018 Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) research award. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a type of lung disease in which the lungs are scarred (also known as fibrosis) for an unknown reason. Dr. Bonham received a grant for her research project, “T Cells in Idiopathic Fibrosis Patients.” Through this research, Dr. Bonham seeks to pinpoint problems in T cells of IPF patients that can be targeted with existing medications used for fighting cancer. This is an innovative concept in the field of lung fibrosis.

RHA also awarded a Lung Cancer research award to Guofei Zhou, Ph.D., from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine for his research project, “Targeting PDLIM5 for Lung Cancer.” Dr. Zhou is researching a new target (PDLIM5) for lung cancer drug discovery that may be capable of inhibiting lung cancer development. The results from Dr. Zhou’s study will provide insights into new therapeutic strategies including new drugs to treat lung cancer. We were impressed by the potential for Dr. Zhou’s research to be applied into medical practice and meaningful health outcomes, which closely aligns with the mission of RHA.

We expect this award will make a positive impact on Dr. Bonham and Dr. Zhou’s future research efforts. RHA looks forward to the advances these researchers will make in IPF and lung cancer.

Respiratory Health Association (RHA) funds groundbreaking lung disease research at major research institutions located in Chicago. These grants are designed to aid local scientists and investigators with generating the preliminary data necessary to compete for future federal funding. RHA’s research review committee seeks innovative studies into the causes, mechanisms, and treatments of a specific lung disease, including pilot and feasibility studies for disease investigation and development and testing of new methodologies and models.

New Insights on Flu in Healthy Children Thanks to RHA-funded Study

A key component of Respiratory Health Association’s (RHA) mission is to help people live better through funding lung disease research. In 2016, RHA awarded research funding to Dr. Bria Coates of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to study how the influenza A virus impacts the immune system response in the development of lung injuries in children. Last month, Dr. Coates’ findings were published in The Journal of Immunology.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 50 percent of all children under 5 years old who die from influenza (commonly known as the flu) annually were previously healthy. This comes in stark contrast to adults who die from the flu, who typically had a medical condition that increased their risk of mortality.

Previously, it was believed that children were more susceptible because their immune systems were not strong enough to respond. However, Dr. Coates’ findings suggest that children’s immune systems overreact to the flu virus, causing more inflammation which leads to greater lung damage and the potential of increased mortality – a previously unknown immune response.

These findings suggest new ways of treating the issue in children in the future.

Dr. Coates credits RHA’s funding for playing a crucial role in allowing her to do this research.

“RHA’s funding is wonderful for an early stage investigator,” said Dr. Coates, “It served as the springboard to advance the project.” RHA’s funding allowed Dr. Coates to publish findings demonstrating why this topic area is important for continued research and requires additional funding.

Dr. Coates intends to continue exploring what drives the increased immune response, how to mitigate its effects, and develop new therapies. “All we have is supportive care to treat the flu,” said Dr. Coates, “so any advancements in therapy would be huge for the field and for the public.”

Respiratory Health Association funds groundbreaking local lung disease researchers like Dr. Coates at major institutions. Other research areas of focus have included asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and more. These grants are designed to aid local scientists and investigators with generating the preliminary data necessary to compete for future federal funding. For more information, visit Research.