Personalising lung injury care

Patients’ responses to lung injury treatments vary greatly, impacting survival and recovery. We're investigating tailored treatments, based on the exact make-up of the fluid lining the air sacs of each individual's lungs.         

Key investigators: Prof Howard Clark and Prof Tony Postle

Key projects

We have initiated the Southampton Lung Injury Cohort, which includes neonates, children and adult lung injury patients. This cohort provides the basis for all our long-term outcome studies in acute lung injury.

Keeping premature babies alive

  • We are investigating interactions between lung surfactant fluid, nutrition and lung bacteria in babies at risk of developing chronic lung disease (TsuNaMI study), assessing surfactant composition and dynamics to identify indicators of injury to the surfactant system.
  • Our OPTIMIST study is testing whether treatment with surfactant can improve lung function and survival in premature babies with respiratory distress.
  • We are also evaluating developmental outcomes in babies following asphyxia, and are investigating a link between nutrition and chronic lung disease incidence.

Investigating the consequences of lung dysfunction

  • We are measuring the effects of abnormally low oxygen levels in the blood in critically ill patients, and using this information to refine improve our understanding and refine treatments.
  • We are investigating how lung injury can lead to widespread organ dysfunction and failure. Using models of bloodflow to the air sacs of the lungs, we have demonstrated one possible cause, phosphatidylcholine release from the lungs into the surrounding bloodstream.
  • Building on these findings, our CHaPPP study is continuing to explore the relationship between abnormally low oxygen levels in the blood and organ dysfunction, with the aim of tracking progress in critically ill patients.

Developing new treatments for critically ill patients

  • Our Surfactant in Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) study is assessing surfactant fluid turnaround in patients with lung injury.
  • In collaboration with UCL, we are running a study of permissive hypoxaemia, a lung-protective strategy that provides patients with ARDS sufficient oxygen levels to avoid tissue damage, in critically ill patients.
  • We are also conducting a multi-centre national study evaluating intravenous imatinib mesylate in patients with sepsis-induced ARDS, a collaboration led by Professor Grocott, and a study to investigate keratinocyte growth factor as a potential ARDS treatment.