Lung transplant research has come a long way in the past two decades. In the past few years, EVLP, or ex vivo lung perfusion, has helped to increase the amount of viable lungs in the organ donation pool. The lung is removed from the donor, and if it is not perfect for transplant, the EVLP machine helps to rehabilitate it to make it a transplantable organ.
At UVA’s School of Medicine, the EVLP machine is now being used in research that may help to rehabilitate lungs that are still inside a person’s body. The lab at the School of Medicine is interested in studying mechanisms and prevention of lung injury following transplantation.
Lung Transplant Research
Lung transplant research at UVA goes beyond EVLP. The lab is interested in non-invasive imaging, the effects of oxidative stress along with other ways to prevent lung ischemia-reperfusion injury. Several residents in this program work directly with Victor Laubach, PhD, and Irving Kron, MD, in their lung transplant research and inside the lab.
“Being able to do lung transplant now, this early in my surgical career, is a huge technical benefit for me,” said Sarah Schubert, MD, a fourth year surgical resident involved in this program.
Translating Research to Patient Care
Laubach and Kron have partnered together researching lung transplantation for nearly two decades. Laubach is a professor at UVA’s School of Medicine and his research interests surrounding lung transplant pairs well with Kron’s clinical background in surgery.
The benefit of having a lung transplant research lab is that the clinical team can than use the lab’s findings in their interactions with actual patients. The findings have a direct impact on how physicians care for patients and the path they decide to take in that care.
“The concept for us is bedside to bench and back again,” Kron says. “What that means to us is that when we see a problem clinically, and then we try to study it in a research lab and then we take it back to the patient to see if we can improve results.”
Watch the video to learn more about the lung transplant research happening at UVA.