University of South Florida

USF one of 17 select centers in American Lung Association’s expanded network studying patients with airways diseases

Tampa, FL (June 8, 2016) — The American Lung Association’s Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) network has expanded the national reach of its clinical trials to enhance the quality of life for patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The University of South Florida (USF) — a continuous member of the Lung Association ACRC since its inception in 1999 — is among 17 centers across the country and one of only two centers in Florida.

The non-profit national network studies patients with airways diseases, specifically asthma and COPD, the latter of which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Asthma affects a high rate of Florida’s population, 8 percent of adults and 10 percent of children, and nearly 8 percent of Floridians have COPD, said Thomas Casale, MD, who assumes the role of principal investigator for USF’s Lung Association ACRC on July 1.

“Finding how best to treat these patients is a primary goal of the American Lung Association’s ACRC,” said Dr. Casale, professor of medicine and pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

Casale, Tom_400x400   Richard Lockey_400x400

                              Dr. Thomas Casale, left, and Dr. Richard Lockey

“Participation in this network gives our patients the opportunity to enroll in clinical studies designed to study these disorders and define optimal care for patients with asthma or COPD.  They can also expect to learn a lot about their disease and how best to manage their symptoms.”

Many studies published by investigators in the highly competitive Airways Clinical Research Centers network have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine or the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Richard Lockey, MD, director of the USF Health Division of Allergy and Immunology, has been USF’s ACRC principal investigator since the group began and will continue to collaborate on studies. Under his leadership, USF has participated in a variety of ACRC network clinical trials in which outcomes are helping shape the nature of care, including the:

  • Anxiety and COPD Evaluation (ACE Trial) examining the relationship between anxiety, health status and prognosis to inform appropriate treatment strategies. Open at USF through June 30, 2016.
  • Resistant Airway Obstruction in Children (REACH) study, investigating whether or not anti-inflammatory medications normally prescribed for children with asthma can help in the management of children with fixed airflow obstruction. Open at USF through June 30, 2017.
  • Long-acting Beta Agonist Step-Down Study (LASST), investigating the best way to reduce treatment in well-controlled asthmatic patients.
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) on Reducing Airway Reactivity in Asthmatics, a trial evaluating whether CPAP, an effective treatment for sleep apnea, can improve asthma control.

“Breathing is essential to life, and it’s vital for those suffering from lung disease to have access to the best treatment options available, and we get there through research,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association.

“The Airways Clinical Research Centers Network attracts some of the best investigators nationwide, and by adding significantly to the expertise of the ACRC network, we will advance research to improve the quality of life for those living with both COPD and asthma.”

For more information on the American Lung Association’s ACRC, visit

About USF Health
USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and the USF Physicians Group. The University of South Florida is a Top 50 research university in total research expenditures among both public and private institutions nationwide, according to the National Science Foundation. For more information, visit

About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586- 4872) or visit:

Media contact:
Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications or (813) 974-3303

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