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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIH Establishes New Network to Study Childhood Asthma

A young girl holds a blue inhaler to her mouth.

Photo: Juan Monino/Getty

NIAID has awarded $10 million in first-year funding to establish a clinical research network called Childhood Asthma in Urban Settings (CAUSE). This nationwide network will conduct observational studies and clinical trials to improve understanding of asthma and develop treatment and prevention approaches tailored to children of low-income families living in urban communities. NIAID intends to provide approximately $70 million over 7 years to support the CAUSE network.

This new initiative expands NIAID’s longstanding efforts to reduce the disproportionate burden of asthma among children living in low-income urban environments. Since 1991, NIAID has sponsored a series of research programs in urban areas where pediatric asthma is prevalent and severe. 

NIAID-funded research found that exposure to cockroach allergen is a major risk factor for severe asthma in urban children and that programs to decrease exposures to cockroaches and other household allergens reduce children’s asthma symptoms and health care visits. Researchers also established that omalizumab, a drug that reduces immunoglobulin E, can prevent seasonal asthma attacks. 

CAUSE investigators will study the mechanisms that contribute to asthma development and severity and develop new strategies to mitigate the impact of asthma among disadvantaged youth. The CAUSE network, which will conduct locally relevant clinical trials, comprises a leadership center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and seven clinical research centers across the country.

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