Severe Asthma Research Program
A National Institutes of Health/ National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute sponsored network
Merritt L. Fajt. M.D. Co-Investigator
University of Pittsburgh, Adult
University of Pittsburgh
Sally E Wenzel, M.D.
Principal Investigator & Steering Committee Chair
Director, Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center
University of PIttsburgh/UPMC
NW 628 Montefiore
3459 Fifth Ave
Cathy Vitari, RN, BSN, AE-C
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
The University of Pittsburgh site includes a site for adult participants at Montefiore Hospital in the University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute at UPMC/UPSOM (part of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine) and a site for pediatric participants in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy, and Immunology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP).
Certain normal cells, called mast cells, appear to be increased in asthma, and particularly in some patients (both adults and children) with severe asthma. There is suggestive evidence that these mast cells contribute to asthma symptoms (wheeze, chest tightness, shortness of breath) and exacerbations across all ages. At the present time, we can only identify increases in these mast cells in samples obtained directly from the lung. Our study will evaluate whether there is any evidence in other body samples, like blood or urine, for these activated mast cells, which would be easier to monitor than lung samples, and clearly easier in children. We will specifically address how and why these mast cells are increased and active in the lungs of some asthmatics. Finally we want to know if asthma patients with these mast cells have a different response to standard asthma medications and whether they predict a certain disease course.
Jenelle Mock, BSN, CCRC