ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Researchers at Albany Medical College have been awarded a four-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to further asthma research. They will be studying the connection between asthma and the protein nestin.
The Protein Nestin is an intermediate filament protein expressed when cells divide, but its function in airway smooth muscle. The tissue that surrounds the trachea and bronchi, which control the flow of air into the lungs is mainly unknown.
“Pilot studies have shown that nestin may help regulate smooth muscle contraction and proliferation,” explained Dale Tang, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Albany Medical College, who is leading the research. “When airway smooth muscle contraction is abnormal, it can lead to asthma.”
“Our goal is to learn more about how nestin affects the progression of asthma and, eventually, facilitate the development of new therapies to treat this disease,” said Dr. Tang.
Asthma affects approximately 25 million people in the United States and nearly 300 million people worldwide.