Life Science Company and Industry News Briefs

Chicago Bioresearchers Receive Lab Funding to Develop New Drugs to Treat Sleep Apnea and Asthma

Posted by Laura Braden on Tue, Mar 24, 2015

Each year the NIH's Heart, Lung and Blood Institute awards researchers around the country with grants to support research of new treatments and drug targets for different health disorders. These grants, known as CADET II grants (Centers for Advanced Diagnostics and Experimental Therapeutics in Lung Diseases Stage II) are awarded to support research that has moved past the initial stage of developing a new drug, but is not yet ready to begin clinical trial testing. 

Recently, 10 CADET II awards were given out around the country, with two researchers from the University of Chicago each receiving an award. These 2 researchers will receive $1.7 million each for the next 5 years to help fund their research on two different projects: 1 project studying sleep apnea, the other studying asthma. Each of these research teams aim to start clinical trials for their drugs within the next 5 years.

$1.7 million given to U. Chicago researcher to study new drugs to treat sleep apnea.

Project 1: Sleep Apnea 

One of the University of Chicago research teams to receive a CADET II grant, lead by Nanduri Prabhakar, PhD, is studying sleep apnea and searching for new drugs that will prevent sleep-disordered breathing problems. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

People who suffer from sleep apnea have a hard time sleeping because they cannot regulate their breathing, sometimes stopping breathing for short periods throughout the night, which causes oxygen levels in the blood to drop, leading to increased tiredness and other health problems, like diabetes and heart disease. There are currently no medications that effectively treat sleep apnea.


With the help of his new $1.7 million funding, Dr. Parabhakar and his research team are working on targeting the enzyme Cystathionine-Gamma-Lyase (CSE) as a potential drug target to treat sleep apnea. CSE, when over-activated, disrupts certain carotid body responses and makes them extra-sensitive. Through previous research, Dr. Parabhakar and his research team found a way to inhibit the activation of CSE with the help of a molecule they developed, which helped to regulate breathing in animals. Further research and testing of this molecule could lead to potential new treatments for sleep apnea. 

"It's been more than 80 years since the carotid bodies were discovered," Parabhakar explained, "work that received the Nobel Prize in 1938. But no one has yet developed a drug that could alter their function. After all that time, there is still a real need for better ways to prevent sleep apnea. I hope this is a light at the end of that tunnel." 

Chicago life science researchers are well-funded. Millions of dollars are awarded to Chicago area bioresearchers every year.      

The University of Chicago. (Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: 1 and 2)

Chicago bioresearchers received $1.7 million to develop new asthma drugs. Project 2: Asthma

The second University of Chicago research team receiving CADET II funding is lead by Julian Solway, MD and will focus on finding new drugs to treat severe asthma. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) 

Nearly three million Americans suffer from asthma which makes it difficult for them to take in the air that they need to breathe. Although there are already many drugs for asthma, many of these drugs don't properly control the symptoms. 

The $1.7 million CADET II grant will help Julian Solway, MD and his research team will focus on studying the smooth muscles that surround the airway in the lungs. These smooth muscles contract when a certain molecular process tells them too, which makes it difficult to breathe. By targeting these muscles and their myosin filaments, the Chicago research team hopes to develop a drug that will stop the muscles from contracting, making it easier for people to breath. 

The researchers have already identified a molecule that interferes with the formation of these myosin filaments, and therefore stops the muscles from contracting. 

"We are bucking a trend here," Solway said. "Our strategy is one of impersonalized medicine. We target the final effector molecule, a muscle contraction protein that should be identical in almost everyone."

IMG_0628  09-uichgo

Researchers in the Chicago area discover new lab products at 2014 BioResearch Product Faire™ Events. 

Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will be holding BioResearch Product Faire™ Events in the Chicago area in October, 2015 that give lab supply companies the opportunity to meet with life science researchers searching for new tools and technologies that will benefit their work. The 1st Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Chicago will be held on Oct. 8, 2015.

Interested in learning more about this Chicago marketing opportunity? Visit the link below to learn more about the event and to receive more funding information about the University of Chicago:

Learn More About UChicago Event


While in Chicago, consider making the most of your time and money by participating in the other Illinois shows happening in the same week:

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign - Oct. 7, 2015 - 14th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event

University of Illinois, Chicago - Oct. 9, 2015 - 16th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event

Researchers at the University of Chicago are invited to visit the link below to learn more about attending the event and to pre-register to save time the day of the show: 

Researchers: Attend  UChicago Event  

To find more marketing opportunities in your region, visit the 2015 trade show calendar here

Tags: Midwest, University of Chicago, 2015, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Chicago, IL, NIH funding, UChicago, Asthma research, Sleep apnea

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