Providence Health Care Investigator Awarded $300,000 Johnson & Johnson Grant for Research into Pediatric Asthma

Vancouver, November 21, 2007 — Research into pediatric asthma received a boost as Johnson & Johnson awarded Dr. Darryl Knight, a researcher with the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia, with a $300,000 Focused Funding grant.
This three-year grant from Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Office of Science & Technology will support Dr. Knight’s basic research into asthma. According to the Asthma Society of Canada, more than 500,000 Canadian children suffer from asthma.

There is increasing evidence that the cells lining the airways of asthmatic children are abnormal. These cells normally provide an effective barrier against the exterior environment, but in asthma these cells are easily damaged and have defective repair mechanisms. Dr. Knight’s work focuses on why these differences exist, which could lead to new therapeutic approaches.

Since the inception of the Focused Funding Program at Johnson & Johnson in 1980, more than $52 million has been awarded to academic investigators doing basic research to advance science and technology in medical fields. This is the first time that a Focused Funding grant has been awarded to a UBC-affiliated researcher.

This competitive program opens doors to new scientific developments, as well as promotes mutually beneficial relationships between scientists working for Johnson & Johnson companies and those who carry out their work at universities or research centres.

“This generous funding of Dr. Knight’s research by Johnson and Johnson is an excellent example of the type of high-level support that is being attracted by stellar investigators and their teams focused on cardiac and pulmonary diseases and conducted at the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital,” said Bruce McManus, who was recently named the inaugural Director of the Institute.

Research at Providence Health Care is conducted under the auspices of the Providence Health Care Research Institute. The PHCRI’s vision is to dramatically improve the treatment and overall health of patients and residents at Providence Health Care and beyond through relevant, ethical and inspired health research. Research expertise at the PHCRI includes laboratory, clinical, health services and epidemiological research in the fields of HIV/AIDS, heart disease, renal disease, addiction, geriatrics and more.

Backgrounder

About Dr. Darryl Knight
Dr. Darryl Knight holds the Canada Research Chair in Airway Disease. He is also a Michael Smith Foundation Career Investigator and a William Thurlbeck Distinguished Researcher. His research laboratory is located in the James Hogg iCAPTURE centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research, part of the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital. Dr. Knight is also an Associate Professor of Pharmacology, at the University of British Columbia.

About Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson, through its operating companies, is the world's most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products, as well as a provider of related services for the consumer, pharmaceutical, and medical devices and diagnostics markets. The more than 200 Johnson & Johnson operating companies employ approximately 122,000 people in 57 countries and sell products throughout the world.

About the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital
Launched in June 2007, the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul's Hospital merges and integrates all of Providence’s heart and lung research, education and care programs under one umbrella. Its mandate is to transform cardiovascular and pulmonary research and care—transferring new care solutions from the laboratory to the clinics and communities to improve the lives of British Columbians.

Contact:

Gavin Wilson
Providence Health Care Communications
Pager 604-667-4397
Cell 604-312-4839
Tel. 604-806-8583