A lung transplant can mean a new chance at life. But many who receive one develop a debilitating, fatal condition that causes scar tissue to build up in the lungs and chokes off the ability to breathe.
University of Michigan researchers hope a new diagnostic tool they developed to predict bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) will allow doctors to intervene earlier and, ultimately, to provide life-saving treatments.
BOS is the leading cause of death for those who survive one year after lung transplantation and more than half of recipients will develop BOS within five years. There is currently no cure.
Vibha Lama, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, led a team of U-M researchers who recently discovered that patients who had a high number of stem cells in their lungs six months after transplantation were much more likely to develop BOS than those with lower counts.
"Our study provides the first indication of the important role these cells play in both human repair and disease," Lama says. "It's very important from the clinical perspective because we didn't previously have any strong biomarkers for BOS."
The findings were recently published online ahead of print publication in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The translational study also highlights the importance of the lab-to-bedside cooperation of basic and clinical research, Lama says.
While the exact relationship between the mesenchymal stromal cells and BOS remains unclear, doctors know that most of the cells originate with the donor and not the recipient. Spikes in cell counts are seen shortly after transplantation as the body responds to the injury; those levels usually taper off, but a second rise of cell counts after about six months is linked to a patient's likelihood of developing BOS.
In 2007, Lama and her colleagues published another discovery about the stem cells, revealing that the cells reside in the transplanted organs, independent of their more commonly known association with bone marrow. That study led to the further exploration of the cells' involvement with chronic transplant rejection.
The new findings also have the potential to spur research that will help people suffering from other types of lung disease, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, known as IPF.
Having the biomarker will also allow researchers to readily identify a population of patients ideal for testing new drug interventions and therapies.
"By the time we usually diagnose BOS, there's already been a huge decline in lung function," Lama says. "If we can find the disease early, we can potentially do something about it."
Methodology: Mesenchymal stromal cells were measured in 405 bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples obtained from 162 lung transplant recipients and patients were observed for BOS development.
Additional U-M authors: Linda Badri; Susan Murray, Sc.D.; Lyrica X. Liu; Natalie M. Walker; Andrew Flint, M.D.; Anish Wadhwa, M.D.; Kevin Chan, M.D.; Galen B. Toews, M.D.; David J. Pinksy, M.D.; Fernando J. Martinez, M.D., M.S.
Funding: The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Thoracic Society and Scleroderma Research Foundation.
Dr. Lama also wishes to acknowledge the generous research support of Brian and Mary Campbell, and Elizabeth Campbell Carr.
Disclosure: U-M is filling for patent protection for this test and is actively engaged in finding a commercial partner who can help bring the developments to market.
Citation: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2010, doi:10.1164/rccm.201005-0742OC
Resources: U-M Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, med.umich.edu/intmed/pulmonary
Ian Demsky | EurekAlert!
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy