Sinus and Allergy Center receives $8.4M NIH grant to help advance development of new treatments

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The Northwestern Medicine- Sinus and Allergy Center has received a grant for more than $8.4 million from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to help advance the understanding of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) and the development of new methods for its treatment over the next five years. The grant will fund research by the newly formed Chronic Rinosinusitis Integrative Studies Program (CRISP), which is comprised of research groups from Northwestern Medicine, The University of Chicago and Geisinger Health System.

CRS is an often debilitating condition that causes pain and congestion in the sinuses due to inflammation from an infection or other irritants that lasts anywhere from more than 12 weeks to several years. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nearly 30 million Americans suffer from CRS and approximately $6 billion in healthcare costs can be attributed to its treatment annually.

"Treatments for chronic rhinosinusitis have remained largely unchanged for decades and there is a great need for more research," said principal investigator for CRISP Robert P. Schleimer, PhD, who is also chief of the division of allergy-immunology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Many patients with CRS are forced to undergo multiple surgeries to successfully widen or clear their nasal passages. Rhinosinusitis is also the number one reason adults in America are prescribed antibiotics, which is a major cause for the growing number antibiotic resistant strains of infectious diseases."

The program's research will aim to better understand the epidemiology, genetics and pathogenesis of CRS, most of which remain unknown, with the goal that it will ultimately lead to strategies for the development of new, more effective treatment options.

"There has traditionally been a lack of funding for CRS research," said Robert Kern, MD, chair of otolaryngology at Northwestern Memorial and the Feinberg School of Medicine. "I think the NIAID recognizes that there is an unmet need for more CRS research and that our Sinus and Allergy Center is well-equipped to help guide that research since it is composed of otolaryngists, allergists and bench scientists who often don't collaborate at other medical centers."

The research will be supported through July 2018 with grant PAR-10-271 National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Source: Northwestern Memorial Hospital

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