Lung transplant drug enters human testing in culmination of decades of work

Christine L. Lau, M.D., and Irving L. Kron, M.D., are seeking to address what she calls "the Achilles' heel of lung transplant" -- ischemic reperfusion injury. The surgical complication directly correlates with organ rejection. Credit: Josh Barney | UVA Health System
In the culmination of decades of research at the University of Virginia Health System, doctors have begun human testing of a drug they hope will one day save many lives among lung transplant recipients.

The drug, regadenoson, is already commonly used to image cardiac patients' hearts. But the UVA research suggests it could be put to another, lifesaving purpose: battling ischemia reperfusion injury, in which tissue is damaged by the restoration of blood flow after it has been cut off.

The principal investigator of UVA's trial, Christine L. Lau, MD, called ischemia reperfusion injury the "Achilles' heel of lung transplant."

"Ischemia reperfusion injury directly correlates to the development of chronic rejection, which is the reason why 5-year survival in lung transplant recipients is only about 50 percent," said Lau, a surgeon at UVA. "Yet there really are almost no [other] clinical trials in lung transplant. This is our best hope." Continue reading


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