“The goal of the PCOE is to bridge the gap between clinical care and basic research to uncover new therapies to treat lung diseases through the discovery of new mechanism of disease. Current research projects focused on emphysema, lung fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. A focus of the center is to understand the mechanisms that lead to lung rejection after transplantation. “
The establishment of the Pulmonary Center of Excellence (PCOE) represents a significant milestone in the commitment of UTHealth Houston to harness basic, clinical and translational research disciplines to advance our understanding of pulmonary diseases and to identify novel treatment options.
Pulmonary diseases remain a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many chronic lung diseases there are limited treatment options available outside lung transplantation. Although lung transplantation is the only viable option for many patients, there is limited organ availability, and the life expectancy after a lung transplant is merely 5 years, the lowest for any solid organ. Despite important advances in the management of care for cardiovascular diseases and cancer, the global burden of pulmonary diseases continues to rise.
These unique circumstances highlight the need of further research in pulmonary diseases to uncover new mechanisms of disease and test novel treatments to prevent, manage, and reverse the course of these deadly lung diseases.
The unique structure of PCOE as a platform integrates pulmonologists such as Dr. Rahat Hussain and Dr. Bindu Akkanti and cardiothoracic transplant surgeons such as Dr. Manish Patel from the Advanced Cardiopulmonary Therapies and Transplantation (Advanced Cardiopulmonary Therapies and Transplantation), with basic and translational scientists at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology such as Dr. Tingting Weng Mills and Dr. Harry Karmouty-Quintana; allowing for important bench-to-bedside discoveries to be made. The PCOE is also supported by the leadership of Dr. Bela Patel (Division Director for Critical Care, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine) and close collaborations with the Center of Perioperative Medicine (CPM) led by Dr. Holger Eltzschig (Chair, Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine).