faculty-header111 optFor the past 20 years, Richard Casaburi, MD, PhD, a senior investigator at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed), has focused his research on developing new therapies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Over the past 5 years, Casaburi has participated in a $37 million multi-center study that aims to uncover why only 25% of the 45.3 million adults in the United States who smoke acquire COPD. Already funded by the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this study recently received a second grant to conduct follow-up studies and to obtain more in-depth results.

The initial 5-year study began in 2007, enlisting 10,500 participants from around the United States who have a history of smoking. The researchers conducted a genome-wide association study of the participants to determine their genetic makeup. The first phase of the study focused on the genes predicting who will develop COPD and what those genes do. By determining the function of the predicting genes, the researchers hope to create new therapies that will treat COPD.

In March 2013, all study participants will be asked to return to take part in the second phase, which will focus on the genetic determinants of COPD progression.