The American Thoracic Society Foundation has created a $50,000 research award for projects aimed at developing better prevention, diagnosis, or treatment approaches for non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NMT) lung disease.

It calls it the Insmed Research Award to recognize the global biopharmaceutical company Insmed’s commitment to funding it. People with lung disorders like bronchiectasis, COPD, asthma, or chronic pneumonia are likely to develop NTM lung disease, a progressive and chronic condition. The disorder is caused by mycobacteria that are common in the environment. About 86,000 Americans have it — and the number is increasing by roughly 8 percent every year.

Nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease “is occurring at an increasingly frequent rate, often striking individuals with underlying lung disease, leading to a chronic, debilitating disease,” Charles Daley, MD, said in a press release. He heads the Division of Mycobacterial and Respiratory Infections at National Jewish Health.