Protein may be strongest indicator of rare lung disease, study shows

Jun 04, 2009
Brent Kinder, MD

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have discovered a protein in the lungs that can help in determining progression of the rare lung disease Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).

Researchers say the protein—Serum surfactant protein A—is superior to other IPF predictors and could lead to better decisions about treatment and timing of .

The study, led by Brent Kinder, MD, is published in the June 4 edition of the journal Chest.

Surfactant proteins are lipoproteins that allow the lungs to stretch and function. These have previously been investigated by UC pulmonary researchers Frank McCormack, MD, and Jeffrey Whitsett, MD.

Kinder and colleagues report that Serum surfactant protein A is the strongest predictor of a patient's survival in the first year after diagnosis with IPF.

"A simple blood test may give us the information we need to help determine the short term risk of death in a patient with IPF," says Kinder, an assistant professor of medicine at the UC College of Medicine and pulmonologist with UC Physicians. "This protein is a stronger predictor of the severity of illness than age, symptoms or prognostic data, like breathing tests."

IPF is scarring of the lung. As the disease progresses, air sacs in the lungs become replaced by fibrotic scar 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, which affect the thick tissue of the lung as opposed to more common lung ailments—such as asthma or emphysema—that affect the airways.

IPF is the most common form of interstitial lung diseases 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.

Kinder, director of UC's Interstitial Lung Disease Center, says this new indicator will allow doctors to determine the severity of the disease in a fast, effective manner and will help them decide the best way to go about treating it.

"It will allow us to come to a decision about how or if to treat the IPF patient and get them enrolled in clinical trials immediately," he says. "In severe cases, it can help in scheduling a lung transplant at the most optimal time for the patient.

"Overall, this discovery could help us define the window of opportunity to appropriately try more aggressive therapies and could greatly help improve the lives of those living with IPF."

Source: University of Cincinnati (news : web)

Explore further: DR Congo Ebola outbreak has killed 42 since August: govt

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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.

Healing process found to backfire in lung patients

Oct 27, 2008

A mechanism in the body which typically helps a person heal from an injury, may actually be causing patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) to get worse, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health ...

Biomarkers identified for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Apr 29, 2008

The first evidence of a distinctive protein signature that could help to transform the diagnosis and improve the monitoring of the devastating lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is being reported by University ...

New prognostic indicator for patients with IPF

Feb 20, 2009

There may be a new way to predict mortality in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a devastating disease that slowly petrifies the lungs. Most patients live only three years after diagnosis on average; however, ...

Recommended for you

Texas orders family of Ebola patient to stay home

just added

Health officials in Texas ordered four "close family members" of the first man diagnosed with Ebola in the United States to stay home, amid reports authorities are monitoring up to 80 people for signs of the disease.

New low-cost technique to detect rotavirus

1 hour ago

Researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) have found a way to enhance detection capacity of small concentrations of rotavirus. All this thanks to a new way to assess the biosensing response ...

UN launches mission to halt worldwide Ebola spread

2 hours ago

The UN launched a mission on Thursday to prevent the worldwide spread of Ebola as the US hunted for people who came in contact with the first African diagnosed with the deadly virus outside the continent.

Ebola death toll passes 3,300: WHO

3 hours ago

The death toll in the world's worst-ever Ebola epidemic has now soared past 3,300, with the virus killing almost half of the more than 7,000 people it has infected, according to World Health Organization figures released ...

User comments : 0