For Professor of Internal Medicine Frank McCormack, MD, research is about changing lives. McCormack, who is the division director of pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine, has dedicated 24 years at the UC College of Medicine to studying rare pulmonary diseases with a focus on transitioning his research from bench (the lab) to bedside (patient care).
McCormack focuses on rare lung diseases because he believes that’s where his research can make the biggest impact and genuinely affect people’s lives.
“We’re conducting lab research for these rare lung diseases knowing that clinical trials are on the horizon,” said McCormack. “We’re taking advantage of that fact, and because we have developed understanding of the molecular basis of the disease, we’re able to jump to therapy very quickly.”
McCormack’s translational research has already yielded the very first treatment for one such rare disease, Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)—a slow moving cancer that creates large tumors in the lungs. He led a clinical trial based at the UC College of Medicine that was conducted across 13 sites in three different countries. The therapy, a drug called sirolimus, received FDA approval in 2015 as the first treatment for LAM.
The rare diseases McCormack studies, like LAM, affect only a few hundred people worldwide. To better collaborate with other rare lung disease researchers, McCormack helped establish a network of 55 clinics around the world interested in rare pulmonary diseases, with Cincinnati as the hub. It’s another way McCormack is continuing a long international reputation of innovative pulmonary research in Cincinnati.
“UC College of Medicine has tremendous strength in research,” said McCormack. “We’re changing the outcome of several diseases across the globe.”