Fighting respiratory diseases: Breathe life.

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Respiratory diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the world. To investigate them, save lives.

The project
Who is behind

What is our goal?

Respiratory diseases affect hundred million people being the leading cause of death and disability in the world.  

Each year, 4 million people die prematurely from chronic respiratory disease and yet, health outcomes for lung disease have not improved in the last years to the same extent as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Most of lung diseases do not have a cure and treatment guidelines aim to alleviate symptoms, to improve life quality and to reduce risk of death. An important problem is that these diseases are diagnosed late, when the disease is already established, decreasing the chances to cure them. Thus, the development of new methods to early detect the disease as well as looking for efficient treatments is critical.

Research in respiratory diseases is the hope for today and the promise for tomorrow. Research helps to the prevention, detection and treatment. Understanding the mechanisms of injury involved in the development of the disease will allow us to generate novel therapeutic strategies to revert or limit the pathological process. Moreover, studying the mechanisms of regeneration in the lung, will allow us to promote tissue repair integrating strategies to block disease progression together with therapies to recover functional tissue.

In our laboratory we study lung inflammation, fibrosis and regeneration to understand how the lung gets damaged and to identify therapies to inhibit the progression of the disease. In addition, we study the behavior of lung stem and progenitor cell populations that are in charge of the regeneration of damaged tissue to develop strategies promoting lung repair. 

Our major goal consists therefore in identifying cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of respiratory diseases, specifically asthma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary hypertension and COVID-19, to find efficient therapies. In particular, based on our preliminary results, we propose:

  • To develop a tool for early detection of respiratory diseases (IPF, COPD, severe COVID-19) based on the presence of clonal hematopoiesis (accumulation of somatic mutations in hematopoietic cells in healthy individuals) as well as its role in the development of those diseases.
  • To evaluate the efficiency as anti-fibrotic therapy of newly identified molecular mechanisms in our laboratory in mouse models of lung fibrosis.
  • To extrapolate molecular mechanisms involved in mucous metaplasia found in mouse models to the human disease (asthma, COPD).
  • To identify novel mechanisms involved in pulmonary hypertension through the study of key celular interactions.
  • To study the mechanisms utilized by airway stem cells to maintain a functional immune ecosystem necessary for the initiation of the immune response.
  • To investigate the regenerative capacity of a newly identified cell type with a potentially relevant role in tissue repair post-injury.

To do that, we use different in vivo injury models to recapitulate the pathological processes of the specific disease and in vitro models using human cells isolated from lung biopsies by flow cytometry, as well as lung explants (Precision Cut Lung Slices) to test potential therapies for specific pathologies. Using the last available technologies of sequencing and imaging we aim to succeed in our goals.

Who will benefit from our project?

Our research directly benefits the millions of people affected by any of the respiratory diseases we study (asthma, IPF, COPD, pulmonary hypertension, COVID-19), their families and all of us because everyone is exposed to toxic agents present in the air that we breathe, including tobacco smoke or environmental pollution, and to microorganisms like the coronavirus SARS-CoV2, making us vulnerable to develop a lung disease anytime.

Indirectly, our research benefits the health care system due to the impact of respiratory diseases that entail immense costs and burden at the hospitals as it has been demonstrated in the current coronavirus pandemic with the saturation and overload at the ICUs in multiple hospitals.

What will you achieve with your donation?

If the minimal goal is reached we will detect specific proteins for cell types by immunostaining or by flow cytometry to isolate specific cell types and to characterize them through genomic techniques.

Over this amount, we will be able to perform the experiments to extrapolate our observations in mouse models to the human disease, testing potential anti-inflammatory and/or anti-fibrotic therapies in explants of diseased lungs to advance in the study of the distinct diseases.

With the optimal amount we could increase the number of blood samples sequenced from IPF or COVID-19 patients that we are carrying out currently showing very promising results. Of note, to obtain reliable results and accurate conclusions is necessary an elevated number of individuals.

Do you want more information?

  • 250 million people suffer chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 3 million die from it every year, being the third cause of death worldwide.
  • 334 million people suffer asthma, being the most common chronic disease in children affecting 14% of children worldwide.
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (FPI) is an interstitial pulmonary disease that affects 3 million people in the world and that has a survival median of 3-5 years post-diagnosis.
  • 25 million people in the world live with pulmonary hypertension, a chronic progressive lung disease that can lead to heart failure.
  • SARS-CoV2 infection has affected 62 million people and 1.4 million have died of COVID-19 in less than a year.
  • 91% of the world population lives in places where air quality exceeds the limits suggested by the WHO. This significantly influences the development or worsen of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, interstitial pulmonary disease, pulmonary hypertension or acute respiratory infections.

To know our research further, see details of our projects, our publications and our achievements in our website: www.hematolung.com

Furthermore, you can follow us here:

Twitter: @ana_saganta

Instagram: apardosa81

Facebook: Ana Pardo-Saganta

LinkedIN: Ana Pardo-Saganta (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ana-pardo-saganta-56877563/)

To get more information not only about our research but that of our groups in our department and institution as well as the facilities in our center, you can visit the following website: www.cima.es

Abaout Precipita
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C/Pintor Murillo, 15
28100 Alcobendas (Madrid) - España
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