Phagocyte Biology Laboratory

Dr. Bryan Heit, Western University

The Heit Lab is excited to announce that we recently received the Breathe New Life Award, an operating grant which we will use to launch a new research initiative into the mechanisms used by macrophages to promote the healing of lungs following pneumonia, and how bacterial infections modulate this healing process. The ultimate goal is to understand why some patient recover normal lung function following bacterial pneumonia, while others will suffer lifelong impairment of their lung function. By investigating these processes we believe that it will become possible to identify those patients who are at risk of developing impaired lung function, and to develop treatments which will prevent the loss of lung function in these patients.


Description of the Problem

Pneumonia – infection of the lungs by pathogens such as bacteria – are a major cause of hospitalization and death among Canadians. Many pneumonia survivors experience a severe and lasting loss of lung function; the consequences of this range from long-term disability to death. In fact, the likelihood of a pneumonia patient dying from a post-pneumonia complication is higher than the likelihood of a patient dying from the complications of a heart attack or stroke. Clearly, better treatments for recovering lung function are required for pneumonia patients, both to restore normal lung function after disease, and to prevent the deaths resulting from post-pneumonia complications. This proposal is directly focused on understanding how and why lung function is lost following pneumonia. This work may lead to treatments which restore lung repair in pneumonia patients, thereby preventing the loss of lung function that is an all too common result of pneumonia. This would directly improve the lung health of the approximately 11,000 Canadians who die of the lost lung function following pneumonia each year.


Thank You to the Funders of this Project

This award would not be possible without the donations and volunteers that support the Lung Association, and would not have been possible without the scientific support of the Ontario Thoracic Society. For more information on the Lung Association, or to fund additional research into lung health, please follow the link below.