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Pediatric Translational Research

17 members from the Wells Center's Pediatric Translational Research Group posing outside
The Pediatric Translational Research program is focused on using lab discoveries to develop treatments and diagnostics that will help children and young adults in the clinical setting. These include respiratory conditions such as asthma, severe asthma, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, opioid-induced respiratory depression, primary ciliary dyskinesia, cystic fibrosis and aerodigestive disorders.


Members of this group and their colleagues have discovered exciting pathways leading to the development of several treatments and diagnostic modalities that are being evaluated for use in each of these areas. A few of these treatments and modalities have reached the clinical study phase of research, which includes adults as well, as highlighted in the clinical projects listed below.   
Patient and clinician from the Pediatric Translational Research group


A major goal of this program is to help pediatric investigators across all disciplines at the Wells Center to collaborate with engineers and other scientists, translating new insights and discoveries into products that will improve the health of children.


The following translational research study projects are designed to develop personalized precision care and treatments for people with asthma and cystic fibrosis, taking place in children and adults.

Current Projects

  • Airway pH Phenotyping
    For people with asthma and/or cystic fibrosis, acid in the airway plays a role in respiratory function and preventing inflammation in the respiratory tract. Low pH may also affect how well some asthma treatments work. For example, albuterol is not fully active in a low pH environment. This study aims to design a method to identify which people with asthma and cystic fibrosis have acidic airways, so they can have more personalized, effective treatments. 
     
     We are inviting people to participate in the airway pH study who:
    • Are 18-50 years old
    • Are currently a non-smoker
    • Are actively being treated for asthma or cystic fibrosis
    • Are available for 3-4 study visits over 2-12 weeks 
    • Have had no recent flares or changes in medications 

    Visit All In For Health to see if you are eligible.

    This study is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and is part of the Personalized Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis Treatments (PACT) program, taking place at Indiana University and Case Western Reserve University and their associated hospitals. 
     
    PI: Jim Chmiel, MD
    Study coordinator: Yang Fan, fy5@iu.edu 
    Study visit location: Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN

  • GSNOR Phenotyping/GSNO Challenge in Asthma
    Some asthma patients have high levels of an enzyme called GSNOR. GSNOR reduces the available amount of an airway relaxant called GSNO. Without enough airway relaxant, the airway becomes constricted and inflamed.  There are medications that can help with this, but first, a person needs to know if they could benefit from these medications. This study is designing a method to identify who could benefit from these medications. 
     
    We are inviting people to participate in the GSNOR/GSNO study who:
    • Are 18-50 years old
    • Are currently a non-smoker
    • Are actively being treated for asthma
    • Are available for 3-4 study visits over 4-12 weeks

    Visit All In For Health to see if you are eligible. 

    This study is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and is part of the Personalized Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis Treatments (PACT) program, taking place at Indiana University and Case Western Reserve University and their associated hospitals. 
     
    PI: Jim Chmiel, MD
    Study coordinator: Yang Fan, fy5@iu.edu 
    Study visit location: Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN 

     

  • Pharmacokinetics and Safety of Slow Release DHEA

    The purpose of this study is to determine how dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) treatments, a supplement for a hormone that your body naturally produces, affect people with asthma. Though DHEA is currently an over-the-counter medication, researchers want to pinpoint its slow-release capability to help patients with asthma.
     
    We are inviting people to participate in the DHEA study who:

    • Are 18-50 years of age
    • Have asthma
    • Have no chronic health diseases other than asthma
    • Are not pregnant or breastfeeding
    • Are currently a non-smoker 

    Visit All In For Health to see if you are eligible. 

    This study is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and is taking place at Indiana University. 
     
    PI: Kirsten Kloepfer, MD
    Study coordinator: Alyssa Laughlin, alaugh@iu.edu 
    Study visit location: Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN

  • PrecISE: Precision Interventions for Severe and/or Exacerbation-Prone Asthma¬†
    The PrecISE study is designed to investigate new treatments for asthma that are thought to work better in some patients than in others. This study is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and is taking place at many hospitals and research centers around the country. 
     
    We are inviting people to participate in PrecISE who: 
    • Are age 12 and older
    • Meet guideline criteria for severe asthma
    • Currently have uncontrolled asthma or have ongoing exacerbations (attacks)
    • Are on a stable regimen of asthma medications

    For those who are eligible and enroll, there will be a variety of treatments to be taken throughout the study, each of these treatment blocks lasting for about 4 months, with about 2 months in between each block. Participants may be in the study for more than a year. We understand this is a big commitment, so compensation is provided. 
     
    Learn how the Pediatric Translational Research group is working with the PrecISE Network or visit All In For Health to see if you are eligible. 

    You can also visit the full program website at preciseasthma.org.
     
    PI: Jim Chmiel, MD
    Study coordinator: Mary Heskett, mheskett@iu.edu
    Study visit location: Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN
  • Projects Coming Soon
    • A Novel Nasal Treatment for COVID-19

Learn more

Discover more information about the Pediatric Translational Research program:

Featured News

Researchers awarded $12 million to pursue personalized therapies for severe asthma

A group of researchers led by Indiana University School of Medicine’s Benjamin Gaston, MD, has been awarded a research program project grant (P01) from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The award amounts to just over $12 million over the next five years and will fund the development of personalized therapeutic approaches for severe asthma.

IU School of Medicine  |  Oct 18, 2021