Rare lung disease cells indicate higher death risk

Jan 16, 2008

Large numbers of certain cells in the lungs of patients diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis may increase their chance of death, University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers have discovered.

According to a new study, increased numbers of neutrophil (pronounced new-tro-fil) cells—a type of white blood cell—in patients’ lungs were associated with a 30 percent increased risk of mortality in the first year following diagnosis with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

“A measure of cell types in the lungs of IPF patients at the time of diagnosis may allow us to determine their risk of death in the following year,” says Brent Kinder, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the UC College of Medicine and pulmonologist with UC Physicians.

“This even takes into account other well-known measures of disease severity like age, whether or not the patient smokes and how well his or her lung functions during breathing tests,” he adds.

Kinder co-authored the study, which is featured in the January issue of the journal Chest, with colleagues from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and National Jewish Medical Center in Denver, Colo.

IPF is scarring of the lung. As the disease progresses, air sacs in the lungs become replaced by fibrotic scar tissue. Lung tissue becomes thicker where the scarring forms, causing an irreversible loss of the tissue’s ability to carry oxygen into the bloodstream.

IPF is one of about 200 disorders called interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), which affect the thick tissue of the lung as opposed to more common lung ailments—such as asthma or emphysema—that affect the airways.

It is the most common form of ILD and affects about 128,000 people in the United States, with an estimated 48,000 new cases diagnosed each year. There currently are no proven therapies or cures for IPF.

Researchers discovered the link between neutrophils and IPF outcome using bronchoalveolar lavage. The technique involves passing a bronchoscope through the mouth of the patient and into the lungs. Saline is squirted into a small part of the affected lung and then recollected for examination.

The team evaluated the cell count of 156 people with IPF at the time the disease began to make its appearance.

“With this information, we can now work to identify neutrophil cells in patients’ lungs and provide detailed information for more accurate diagnosis,” says Kinder, who is also director of the newly established Interstitial Lung Disease Center at UC.

“It is our hope that this accurate prognostic information will become even more useful as effective treatments become available.”

Source: University of Cincinnati

Explore further: West Africa's Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

Apr 14, 2014

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

Guns aren't the only things killing cops

Apr 11, 2014

The public does not realize—in fact, police themselves may not realize—that the dangers police officers are exposed to on a daily basis are far worse than anything on "Law and Order."

The science of anatomy is undergoing a revival

Apr 10, 2014

Only two decades ago, when I was starting my PhD studies at the University of California in Berkeley, there was talk about the death of anatomy as a research subject. That hasn't happened. Instead the science ...

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

22 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

22 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

Apr 19, 2014

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...