Breathing Life into Asthma Research

There are over 3.8 million Canadians living with asthma in Canada, and every year an estimated 250 Canadians lose their lives to the disease. 

Although today there is no known cure, it can be managed with proper care and treatment. Research about asthma is incredibly important as it helps us to learn more about the disease, and how to best manage and treat it. 

This year, World Asthma Day is being recognized on May 3, 2022. At the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM), we are proud to have 16 Private Investigators working within the Biology of Breathing (B.o.B) research theme.

B.o.B. carries out world-class research in pediatric pulmonary disorders such as asthma, oxidative stress, newborn apnea, and more. B.o.B is currently focused on learning more about asthma as it relates to environmental exposures, its origins and mechanisms of disease, as well as other diseases of the developing lung and development of underdeveloped lungs.

The Asthma and Allergy group within B.o.B. works closely with the Children’s Allergy and Asthma Education Centre (CAAEC) – another Children’s Hospital Foundation-funded program within the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg.

In 2021, CHRIM clinician scientist, Dr. Elinor Simons assumed the role of Site Leader for the CHILD Study Manitoba site. The CHILD study is a longitudinal birth cohort study which means that researchers are actively following the Study participants over time as they grow and develop—from mid-pregnancy into childhood and adolescence. CHILD is designed this way so it can collect information at time points that are considered to be especially critical to the health and development of children.

Dr. Simons (MD, PhD) is a pediatric allergist and clinical epidemiologist and an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba and is leading local research linked to the CHILD study. The 8-year and 13-year CHILD phases will contribute to understanding the gender shift in asthma to female predominance that occurs around puberty. In addition, the COVID-19 Immune Monitoring Study involves long term monitoring of antibody and cell-mediated immunity to COVID-19 in 5- to 11-year-old children participating in the CHILD Cohort Study and CHILD COVID-19 Study.

In 2020, a $2 million award from the Canadian Microbiome Initiative 2 (CMI2) program was awarded to the CHILD Cohort Study, led by CHRIM researcher, Dr. Megan Azad and Dr. Padmaja Subbarao of The Hospital for Sick Children.

“Asthma affects about one in 10 children and it is the most common reason why children miss school or end up in hospital” 

Dr. Azad, Canada Research Chair in developmental origins of chronic disease and associate professor at the University of Manitoba

The CM12 award allowed the CHILD Cohort Study researchers to examine the trillions of microorganisms living inside the human body and uncover the role they play in causing asthma.

If your child has been diagnosed with asthma, you can learn more information available at the Children’s Allergy and Asthma Education Centre, in their Family Asthma Program.

To learn more about managing a child’s asthma, visit this Translating Emergency Knowledge for Kids resource video from the University of Alberta (ECHO) Research Team.