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!
A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells
13.12.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
Research reveals how diabetes in pregnancy affects baby's heart
13.12.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences