The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and School of Medicine investigators will be leading a federal initiative to manage clinical trials aimed at developing new treatments for breathing disorders.

The Network Management Core – or NEMO – will coordinate and support trials related to the Pulmonary Trials Cooperative (PTC), which will carry out multiple clinical studies on a variety of chronic lung conditions, including interstitial lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary hypertension, sarcoidosis and obstructive sleep apnea.

“The PTC program brings together expertise in lung disease research and treatment across the nation in one single, dynamic enterprise,” said Tony Punturieri, M.D., Ph.D., program officer in the Division of Lung Diseases at NHLBI. “This novel structure should facilitate efforts to get tested clinical care to patients in dire need of new treatments across a broad spectrum of lung diseases.”

Chronic lung diseases are some of the most common medical conditions in the world, with more than 15 million people in the U.S. suffering from COPD alone, a condition which is the third-leading cause of death nationwide, according to the American Lung Association.

The NEMO will be led by Stephen Wisniewski, Ph.D., epidemiology professor in Pitt Public Health, and Frank Sciurba, M.D., director of Pitt’s Emphysema COPD Research Center in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine.

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