Research at FIRH

FIRH conducts research to increase understanding of respiratory health and disease through collaborative basic and clinical investigations with the expectation of improving patient care. Research is wide-ranging, from basic studies of animal models of lung disease (asthma, COPD, fibrosis) to clinical trials and epidemiological studies such as the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development Study (CHILD) birth cohort study, for which the FIRH is hosting the coordinating center. Specialized facilities have been established at the FIRH, such as the Sputum Research Laboratory and the Aerosol Research Laboratory. Scientists at the FIRH are performing studies of bone marrow progenitor cells, airway peptide challenges, electrophysiological studies of airway smooth muscle cells, chronic allergen challenges, preclinical models of lung injury and repair, and more. The research productivity of FIRH is attested to by the high quality and impact of the peer-reviewed publications.

Notable achievements by FIRH scientists in the respiratory field

  • FIRH methodologies have become the international standard in the development of indirect methods to study airway inflammation by non-invasive techniques.
  • Firestone scientists developed the most widely used methods of bronchial provocations using inhaled histamine, methacholine and allergens.
  • The Aerochamber™ valved holding chamber for MDI aerosols, used internationally to improve delivery of inhaled medication, was developed by FIRH faculty.
  • Firestone scientists (in 1989) developed the first Canadian guidelines for the treatment of asthma; these subsequently had a significant impact on the development of international guidelines.

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