The University of Arizona

UA Respiratory Sciences Center Renamed 'Arizona Respiratory Center'

By Jean Spinelli, October 1, 2001

The Arizona Respiratory Sciences Center, a Center of Excellence at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, has been renamed the Arizona Respiratory Center. The new name was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents to more accurately reflect the expanded scope of the Center, which is nationally recognized as one of the top institutions for respiratory care.

Designated in 1971 as the first Center of Excellence at the UA College of Medicine, the Center started as a small, specialized center of research in respiratory sciences. Today, it is an internationally known Center that combines the highest caliber of research, clinical care and teaching.

The Center brings together experts in immunology, pathology, radiology, internal medicine, pediatrics, pharmacology, epidemiology, molecular genetics, computer science and many other disciplines to attack respiratory disease in children and adults. The Center is known for its research into the causes and modes of development of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and sleep apnea.

Center Director Dr. Fernando Martinez, a world-renowned asthma researcher, especially notes the Center's progress in treating respiratory disease during the past 30 years: "Today we have safe and effective treatments for asthma that allow 99 percent of persons with asthma to lead normal lives."

A recent report by U.S. News & World Report confirms that respiratory care at the Arizona Respiratory Center and University Medical Center, the teaching hospital for the UA College of Medicine, is among the best in the nation. UMC was ranked 25th in the nation by U.S. News' annual guide to "America's Best Hospitals."

"I am pleased with our progress in serving the community in this comprehensive way and with our contributions to the understanding of the origins, treatment and prevention of life-altering respiratory diseases," says Dr. Martinez. "But there is much more for us to do."


Asthma is reaching epidemic levels in children, and one in 10 need to be treated for this debilitating condition, Dr. Martinez notes. Chronic obstructive lung disease is the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and more than 15 million Americans are affected.

"We now know that all respiratory diseases are the result of environmental impact on genetically predisposed individuals. Figuring out which genes are involved in this predisposition will be crucial not only to treat these diseases, but also to prevent them. Thanks to recent advances in our understanding of the human genome, these goals are now within our reach."

Dr. Martinez is convinced that in the next decades cures will be found for the most common respiratory diseases affecting young and old. And the Arizona Respiratory Center will play a key role in efforts to improve people's lives and offer new hope to the millions of people who suffer from respiratory diseases.