College of Pharmacy researcher awarded $2.2 million NIH grant

Eric Snyder, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, is the lead investigator on a $2.2 million, five-year grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health.

The goal of the study is to determine which heart failure patients will be more susceptible to the development of pulmonary edema, the abnormal build-up of fluid in the lungs. Pulmonary edema is a leading cause of hospitalization and death in patients with heart failure.

The grant, “Gene-by-Gene Interactions and Lung Fluid Balance in Patients with Heart Failure,” also will allow the research team to seek new therapies that can improve the clearance of fluid from the lungs in patients with heart failure.

Collaborators with Snyder on the grant are Paul Nolan, PharmD, College of Pharmacy; Mark Friedman, MD, cardiology, College of Medicine; Dorothy Gilbertson-Dahdal, MD, radiology, College of Medicine; and Dean Billheimer, PhD, statistical consulting, BIO5 Institute.

Complications from heart failure, including pulmonary edema, are among the top reasons for hospital admissions in the United States for persons over the age of 65. The development of pulmonary edema results from alterations in the normal balance between factors that influence lung fluid accumulation and those that influence lung fluid removal.

Not all patients with heart failure develop pulmonary edema, even if they have similar clinical characteristics and age, which suggests that a person’s genes may contribute to the likelihood of developing pulmonary edema.

The research team will study several genes, both alone and together, that are important in lung fluid clearance. In addition, the researchers will investigate how drug therapy affects lung fluid clearance according to these genes.