CenterPoints: Thomas Ferkol, MD, talks about the Center for Pediatric Pulmonary Disease and its role in facilitating research.

Despite tremendous medical and scientific advances over the past two decades, the frequency of respiratory illness in children has increased at epidemic rates. The number of children with asthma has risen 150 percent in the past 20 years. Lung problems are one of the leading causes of infant deaths, especially among children with low birth weights.

The goal of the Center for Pediatric Pulmonary Disease is to prevent these respiratory problems in infants and young children.

A central focus is on identifying specific genes and developmental mechanisms that contribute to the risk of respiratory disease in  children. Development of diagnostic tools and risk reduction programs are planned, as are gene replacement models, pharmacological manipulation, and developmental reprogramming of cells or genes to ameliorate, eliminate and prevent these lung disorders.