Last week's news announcement of a new drug target for asthma and cancer heralded an example of the type of out-of-the-box thinking that has now widened the scope of research in both diseases and has the potential for great impact.

This research starts with innovative scientists willing to cross disciplines to understand how biological processes impact disease across many levels. It also takes organizations, foundations and philanthropic individuals who recognize the potential in such research and their ability to propel ideas from the laboratory bench to clinical application.

That’s exactly what the American Asthma Foundation did when they funded Dr. Jonathan Powell’s research. Funding a cancer-immunology researcher to study drug targets for asthma is the type of cross-discipline support that leads to innovation and discovery.

My daily work supports cancer communications, highlighting the research, people and practices it takes to conquer this disease, but I’ve had asthma since childhood. I never thought I’d write about asthma and cancer within the same piece of research, but Dr. Powell surprised me. And that’s what we need for science.

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