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OKLAHOMA CITY – The research on Sarcoidosis is happening here at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), and a new $3.2 million grant will help them better understand the disease, with the ultimate goal to finding affecting treatment.

It’s a disease that contributed to the deaths of actor and comedian Bernie Mac as well as popular NFL player Reggie White.

Sarcoidosis is a body’s response to an unknown agent and is commonly found in the lungs.

“Could be pollen, could be dust, could be some other environmental exposure like bacteria or a virus and your body responds by developing these little tumors if you will called granulomas,” Dr. Courtney Montgomery, sarcoidosis principle investigator at OMRF said.

It’s often misdiagnosed and there is no cure, however scientists at OMRF have made strides in studying the genetic relationship to the disease.

“We’ve been able to identify genetic factors that are unique to African Americans. We have really the only cohort of patients in the whole of the United States,” Dr. Montgomery said.

A demographic with an increased risk. There is another pattern that could greatly affect future treatments.

“We’ve also found that European Americans with Sarcoidosis have a genetic profile very similar to other diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus,” she said.

That could help find better treatments for the disease.

The work being doing here uses cutting edge equipment to dissect cells in the disease.

A new grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute will go toward finding what triggers the disease, and they are asking for Oklahomans to participate.

“In this case we’re looking for anyone who’s been to the doctor, had a biopsy performed and oh they say this is a sarcoidosis granuloma,” Dr. Montgomery said .

The paid study could go toward impacting others living with this debilitating disease.

If you’re interested in participating and meet the requirements, call the Sarcoidosis Research Unit at 405-271-2504 or email at