Washington University in St. Louis | Caroline Arbanas
Lung transplants – a treatment of last resort for end-stage lung disease – have given thousands of patients a second lease on life. But the long-term success of the procedure still lags far behind that seen in heart, liver and kidney transplants, and scientists have struggled to understand why.
With a new $7.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), lung transplant surgeons and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are investigating the immunological basis of lung transplant rejection, with the aim of improving the long-term outlook for patients.
“The lower success rates of lung transplants remain a major problem,” said principal investigator Daniel Kreisel, MD, PhD, a Washington University lung transplant surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “Unlike other organs, lungs are constantly exposed to whatever is in the environment – bacteria, viruses and air pollution, for example – and we think this increases the risk of chronic rejection and, eventually, failure of the organ.” Continue reading