ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Albany Medical Center has been awarded a five-year, $2.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how carbon dioxide and metabolism impact chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). COPD refers to a group of diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, that block airflow to the lungs and make it hard to breathe.

With the support of this new grant, the team at Albany Med will use animal models to investigate the role of a particular mitochondrial enzyme and the effects of elevated carbon dioxide on metabolism and COPD-related muscle weakness. “We hope to learn how metabolism contributes to the long-term effects of COPD-driven muscle dysfunction, which could eventually lead to the development of drugs that improve the quality of life for those suffering from this disease,” said Dr. Jaitovich, a pulmonologist in Albany Med’s Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

According to the American Lung Association, more than 16.4 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD. It is the third-leading cause of death by disease in the United States.