Acute Lung Injury

ALI Research at UCSF. UCSF has a rich history of research on ALI that includes studies on the role of surfactant in the injured lung, research on the resolution of excess fluid (pulmonary edema) in the lung, and many studies in partnership with the National Institutes of Health’s ARDS Network, for which UCSF was one of the founding institutions. This research has led to therapies such as surfactant replacement in neonatal ALI and gentler lung ventilation that have undoubtedly saved thousands of lives. At UCSF, our group of Pulmonary and Critical Care specialists has active research programs that are taking novel approaches to the prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of ALI.

These programs include:

  • Laboratory-based molecular, cell, and animal models of acute lung injury in mice, rats, and large animals (including sheep), with a focus on understanding the pathogenesis and resolution of pulmonary edema in acute lung injury.
  • Biologic and therapeutic effects of allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) using animal models and a novel ex vivo perfused human lung preparation.
  • Basic and translational research on how platelets can contribute to ALI and the use of platelet inhibitors as treatment for ALI.
  • Basic research on ischemia-reperfusion lung injury/primary graft dysfunction using a mouse model of orthotopic lung transplantation.
  • State-of-the-art imaging of ALI in real-time in live, experimental animal models.
  • Clinical research focusing on biologic and clinical predictors for developing acute lung injury, as well as the pathogenesis and resolution of lung injury.
  • NHLBI site since 1995 for running phase III clinical trials of treatments for patients with acute lung injury (ARDS Network).
  • Clinical and translational research on how cigarette smoke exposure (active and passive) may increase the risk of developing ALI and other critical illness outcomes.
  • Clinical research on how genetic markers can be used to predict who develops ALI and how these markers can predict the clinical outcome of ALI.
  • Clinical research on how to identify and treat ALI patients early in their hospitalization.

The research environment is intended to foster productive interactions between basic and clinical scientists. Members of the research group include fellows and faculty from the Departments of Medicine, Anesthesia, Pediatrics, and the CVRI. Several young faculty members contribute substantially to an environment to foster the growth of the next generation of pulmonary and critical care medicine investigators, as well as high quality research.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

UCSF is a major center for the clinical care of critically ill patients with ARDS (also know as Acute Lung Injury) at all the affiliated hospitals, including NIH supported basic and clinical interdisciplinary research on ARDS, UCSF also is an NIH supported center for carrying out phase II and phase III clinical trials. Several faculty members in the Departments of Medicine, Anesthesia, Surgery, and Pediatrics as well as post-doctoral fellows are focused on basic research and clinical research issues in ARDS, and related critical care issues, in both adults and children.