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, Dr. Christine L. Lau, 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 five-year survival in lung transplant recipients is only about 50 percent,” said Lau, a surgeon. “Yet there really are almost no [other] clinical trials in lung transplant. This is our best hope.”Share