Study of Lung Health Among Blacks Earns CHEST Foundation Grant

Margarida Maia, PhD avatar

by Margarida Maia, PhD |

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racial differences and lung health

African Americans

Researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) have been awarded a $30,000 CHEST Foundation Research Grant to study racial differences in lung health among smokers, with an emphasis on African Americans.

Lung function is an important health indicator and can be compromised by various factors, the most important of which is cigarette smoking. Blacks who smoke seem to be particularly affected by lung disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

But Andrew J. Gangemi, MD, an assistant professor of thoracic medicine and surgery at LKSOM, and colleagues include yet another player in the equation: sleep.

“We are interested in finding out how sleep modifies the effects of smoking behavior on lung health and exercise tolerance in African Americans as compared to Caucasian smokers,” Gangemi said in a press release.

In a previous paper reporting the results of a clinical trial (NCT03534076), researchers showed that lung function, smoking, and sleep are intertwined in Blacks.

“Essentially, we found that longer and better-quality sleep could improve daytime exercise tolerance in heavier smokers to the same extent as an inhaled medication,” Gangemi said.

With this CHEST award for research into COPD, Gangemi will open a study called “Are sleep health, nicotine metabolism, and airway inflammation mechanisms for differences in lung function between African American and non-Hispanic white smokers? A proof-of-concept examination.” This grant by the CHEST Foundation, a charitable arm of the American College of Chest Physicians aiding lung research and community programs, is supported by AstraZeneca.

The study at Temple is open for enrollment, according to the release.

The research is part of a larger, $3 million government-funded project led by Aditi Satti, MD, a professor of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery and a professor in the Center for Asian Health at LKSOM, focusing on identifying links between lung function, smoking, and sleep in African Americans who are deemed to be at high risk of lung disease.

“The expected outcome from this work is a clearer, multi-level, understanding of sleep in at-risk African Americans and the extent to which sleep is an upstream, central risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) progression in African American smokers,” Satti said.

“Given that COPD is one of the fastest growing diseases in African American adults and that this population is more likely to get COPD even with smoking fewer cigarettes, finding new ways to prevent COPD and its progression is important,” Satti concluded.