Research & Innovation
Lung transplantation and the immune system
As with any organ transplant, your child’s immune system will be a major concern for doctors. To make sure children like yours do not reject their new lungs, researchers at Children’s are studying ways to calm the immune system, which proves to be a delicate balancing act between rejecting the lungs and making a patient more vulnerable to infections. One study tests the effectiveness of inhaled cyclosporine, an anti-rejection drug.
Children’s also recognizes that understanding your child’s condition before transplantation can benefit your child after transplantation. Researchers are conducting several studies on cystic fibrosis, one of the most common conditions requiring a lung transplant.
These CF studies ask:
- why severity of CF varies among children and young adults
- if there are undiscovered genes that cause CF
- if there are drugs that can treat the early stages of CF
- if saliva can provide any diagnostic clues to lung diseases such as CF
Children’s also actively recruits CF patients into a multi-center patient registry to allow efficient collection of patient data for researchers to study.
Other areas of research look at level of physical activity level before transplantation, the effects of previous bone marrow transplantation and the effects of changes in the heart due to pulmonary hypertension. Post-transplantation quality of life is also an important research topic for doctors at Children’s.
Our basic research is aimed at three things:
- Preventing both short- and long-term lung transplant injury
- Developing transplant tolerance
- Innovating therapies for long-term acceptance of transplanted lungs
Our physicians are actively involved in research focused on the management of pulmonary disease both before and after transplant. Cystic fibrosis and immunology figure prominently in the areas under investigation.
Other current research projects include:
- Quality of life in pediatric lung transplantation
- Inhaled cyclosporine: prevention and treatment of chronic rejection
Three chart review studies:
- the effect of pre-transplant physical activity on post-transplant outcome
- the effect of prior allogeneic marrow or stem cell transplantation on lung transplants
- cardiac re-modeling in children with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension post-transplant
- A multi-center drug study evaluating inhaled cyclosporine in the prevention and treatment of chronic rejection.
- Examining the relationship of exercise and rehabilitation to outcomes in pediatric lung transplantation
- An innovative drug clinical trial for patients with pulmonary vein stenosis
- Reshaping the heart in children with pulmonary arterial hypertension (that’s not caused by an underlying syndrome) after a lung transplant
- The role of respiratory infections in lung allograft survival
- Examining the mechanisms of rejection and possible novel therapies to improve long-term graft survival
- Improving quality of life for pediatric lung transplant patients