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Research analyzes agricultural lung disease, pneumonia

April 4, 2019

When it comes to understanding lung diseases that affect residents in more rural areas, Nebraska donors play an important role in that process. Particularly interested in diseases that occur due to dust particles from hog farms, Dr. Kristina Bailey utilizes donated lungs for these purposes and others.

Bailey is a pulmonary critical care physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her research focuses on donated lungs and airways to study what causes lung disease and what can be done to make diagnoses and treatments better.

In Omaha, Bailey oversees the lung and tissue samples that are distributed to her and other research projects.

These studies aim to understand lung diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis and agricultural lung disease. Bailey is also directly studying the effects aging has on pneumonia and more frequent diagnoses in older persons. Several other projects across the country also benefit from the donated samples.

The research that is done can also be used to compare results studied in mice. Other doctors can use the recovered samples as controls to compare why some people endure chronic rejection after lung transplants.

The overall goal of the ongoing partnership at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Bailey said, is to improve medications for lung disease in the future.

“Overall, and especially with COPD, we haven’t had any new medications to treat these diseases for many years, so most of our efforts are focused on other ways to prevent or treat lung diseases,” she said.

This is part four of an eight-part series outlining the ways organ and tissue donors from Nebraska benefit many through research projects. Look for next week’s contribution discussing the second project that gives insight into heart disease.

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