Scientific Round Up for 2015
By Dr Porter and Prof Brown
It has been a busy year for presentations this year in the Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Group. Dr Theresia Mikolasch (Breathing Matters Lawrence Matz Clinical Fellow) presented the UCLH experience of relatively non-invasive cryobiopsies at the European Respiratory Society in Amsterdam in September. This was very well received as she is the pioneer of this procedure in the UK and it is only currently available at UCLH. Dr Mikolasch is also due to give a talk on her work at the British Thoracic Society meeting in December.
Dr Akif Khawaja is presenting his work on rheumatoid arthritis associated ILD at the American Society of Rheumatology in November in San Francisco. The results from the novel PET imaging project has shown some remarkable correlations between the results of the original FDG-PET scan of the lungs and mortality in pulmonary fibrosis of all varieties and we hope that this paper will be published in the New Year.
Dr Sara Brilha has completed a paper looking at the effect of fibrosis on the lung epithelium which is now submitted for publication.
The group continues to grow with a new research nurse and study coordinator and has signed up to five clinical trials in ILD, including a study of combined pirfenidone and nintedanib therapy in IPF; pirfenidone in non-IPF ILD; septrin in IPF; dabigatran in IPF; losmapimod in RA-ILD; as well as our ongoing studies.
We have also been awarded a joint grant with Papworth to look at obliterative bronchiolitis, a complication that affects many patients post-lung transplant, that we hope to start in the New Year.
It has also been a busy year for publications for Professor Brown’s Lung Infection group with 11 research papers published so far. The highlights are a paper in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (Suri et al in press JACI) describing how exposure to welding fumes makes pneumonia more likely, and a paper published in November in the European Respiratory Journal (Quint et al. Europ Resp J in press 2015) which shows that bronchiectasis is much commoner than previously thought and is increasing in both incidence and prevalence as well as associated with a marked increase in age-dependent mortality.
The eagerly awaited laboratory refurbishment is at last complete and we are excited that the New Year will be very productive after being uprooted from the laboratories for the move. The refurb has been funded by UCL as part of their commitment to keep the buildings in working order.
Dr Manuela Plate, one of our researchers says, “The newly refurbished labs are truly wonderful. It is not just the way they look, it is also the way spaces have been designed around us. It has really improved the way we work and the quality of our output.
I really like the new open plan office as well, the fact that we are all in the same room is improving communications between us and with the Principal Investigators and Professors, fostering conversations and collaborations between people in different groups. There is a really nice, collegiate atmosphere. A big success all around!”