Udall, Bennet Announce Over $150,000 in Recovery Act Funding for University of Colorado Denver Chronic Lung Illnesses Studies

Recovery Act Funds Will Be Used to Combat Fourth Leading Cause of Death, Illness and Disability in the United States

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet today announced that the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) will award a $153,259 grant to the University of Colorado Denver's School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

The funds are part of a $3.3 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to study two serious chronic lung diseases. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) are common yet complex conditions that are difficult to treat and major causes of disability and death in the U.S.

"This funding for cutting-edge research at the University of Colorado Denver is going to help us increase our understanding of how to treat and even cure some of the most debilitating lung diseases," Senator Udall said. "But not only will it improve the lives of those who suffer from chronic lung diseases, it will reduce the cost of treatment, help support health care jobs, and reduce health care costs overall - and that's a win for all Coloradans."

"With these funds, we'll be able to build on the groundbreaking research being done at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine to improve the lives of Coloradans living with chronic illnesses," Bennet said. "People are suffering every day at the hands of these debilitating, and in some cases fatal, diseases, straining families and increasing health care costs across the board. Promising research efforts like the ones underway at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine can bring an end to chronic illnesses, lower the crushing cost of health care, and improve the health and well-being of Colorado families across the state."

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COPD is the fourth leading cause of death, illness, and disability in the United States. Research money helps the University of Colorado Denver's School of Medicine expand medical knowledge and improve health care. Learn more about the research programs studying pulmonary disease at UC Denver's School of Medicine's Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, is an inflammatory lung disorder of unknown origin characterized by abnormal formation of fibrous tissue between the tiny air sacs (alveoli) or ducts of the lungs.

The ARRA funds will provide much needed investments to spur advances in the understanding of these complex lung diseases by supporting research at the University of Colorado Denver and 15 other states. This is NHLBI's first set of grants under ARRA to study lung diseases.