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New Diagnostics to Detect Lung Injury

Aug. 29, 2013

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has received a four year, $1.07 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to evaluate new non-invasive methods to detect lung injury.

Elizabeth Jacobs, MD, professor of medicine and physiology, and Associate Dean of Research at MCW, is the primary investigator of the grant.

Dr. Jacobs is also Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, where she sees patients.

Selected individuals with end stage lung disease are candidates for lung transplantation. However, lung cells can be damaged by lack of blood supply during the period between harvesting and reimplantation. That condition, called ischemia, is correlated with short and long term complications of lung transplant. Currently, there is no way to detect the extent of that injury early enough to maximize the effectiveness of interventions.

In this project, noninvasive imaging techniques will be evaluated in live rats, with the goal being quick transition into the clinical arena. The first is single photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) imaging. The second is fluorescence optical imaging to follow the redox ratio (RR) of lung. The research team will also explore the potential of FDA approved agents including an immunosuppressive agent cyclosporin A, steroids, and a sedative amobarbital, in protection against lung cell death with the imaging methods.

The overall goal is to identify ischemia early enough to intervene and prevent or minimize complications following lung transplant.

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