ATS Foundation, FSR Award Sarcoidosis Research Grant to Nicholas Arger of UCSF for Immune Cell Study
The American Thoracic Society (ATS) Foundation Research Program and the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR) have awarded a Foundation Partner Grant to Nicholas Arger, MD, at the University of California San Francisco, to study the role of a specific population of immune cells in sarcoidosis-related inflammation.
The $80,000 ATS Foundation Partner Grants — $40,000 per year, for two years — are given to researchers from around the world who have devoted their careers to the discovery of scientific breakthroughs, and the improvement of patient care.
The grant provided to Arger will support his research project, titled “Single Cell RNA sequencing of high T-bet-expressing T cells to determine their role in sarcoidosis.”
“The goal of this project is to gain a better understanding of a population of immune cells that potentially contribute to ongoing inflammation in the disease,” Arger wrote in his application summary, according to a press release.
Arger previously identified a population of T-cells with high levels of T-bet, which is a protein that controls the activity of several genes associated with inflammation.
“I found [these] cells almost exclusively in patients who had declines in their pulmonary function over time as compared to patients who have had stable lung function and have not required treatment,” Arger said.
The researcher’s goal now is to investigate the biologic function of these cells and determine whether they represent an expanded T-cell population. Arger plans to carry out this project through the use of single cell genomic sequencing techniques, which allow the profiling of individual cells.
“These findings will help the scientific community understand potential mechanisms that drive the inflammatory response in this disease and also help distinguish patients who have progressive disease from those who do not,” Arger said.
Dean Schraufnagel, MD, chair of the ATS Foundation, noted that sarcoidosis, “can have devastating consequences [and] has been a mystery since it was discovered over a hundred years ago.”
“Part of the problem was that there were relatively few scientists committed to its research,” Schraufnagel said. “ATS grants support young investigators, such as Dr. Arger, to lead them toward a career that will help unravel the puzzles of sarcoid.”
Over the years, the ATS Foundation Research Program has granted approximately $19.3 million to 263 scientists, both in the United States and worldwide.
In turn, FSR has fostered over $4 million in research projects dedicated to the sarcoidosis field.
The goal of FSR “is to support dedicated investigators who aim to better understand how this challenging disease works,” said Noopur Singh, director of research programs.
“Projects like Dr. Arger’s cultivate necessary data for the scientific community to gain insight into sarcoidosis,” Singh said. “We are pleased to see young investigators that are dedicated to increasing the understanding of this disease, and creating an impact not only for future research, but for sarcoidosis patients.”