Josh Levy awarded 2 grants that will use the EMSC

Aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is a severe inflammatory syndrome with inadequate treatment options for the >2 million Americans affected by the disease. Physiologic shunting of arachidonic acid (AA) leads to uncontrolled airway inflammation, characterized by progressive nasal polyps, asthma and life-threatening lower airway exacerbations. Ineffective treatment leads to significant disease burdens, with national annual healthcare expenditures >$4.5 billion. The endocannabinoid (eCA) system may be involved in AERD via its regulation of adaptive immunity and direct production of AA. The peripheral type-2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2R) has been identified as a therapeutic target for the treatment of various inflammatory diseases, but has not been evaluated in AERD.

Dr. Joshua Levy, MD, MPH has won a pilot and a career development award to study the effects of dysregulated endocannabinoid activity in aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD). The potential for translatable research to be conducted using polypoid nasal epithelium is high since an absence of in vitro study models impairs clinical and translational study of AERD. A goal in the EMSC is to provide support for the development of novel cell model systems, to which this project falls directly in line with our mission. Together with Dr. Molina, the EMSC has developed and validated primary human nasal and conducting airway epithelial cell culture models that are currently being used for new drug screening and mechanistic studies. We routinely isolate primary human airway epithelial cells from explanted human lungs and nasal curettage as part of the CF-AIR mission and therefore have both the necessary skills and expertise to co-develop a new model of AERD with Dr. Levy.