ATS Discoveries Series Today: Lung Regeneration, TB

Today’s Discoveries Series lectures will cover lung regeneration and tuberculosis. The lectures, which will chart seminal clinical and scientific breakthroughs, will be given concurrently from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. The Discoveries Series is presented in celebration of the American Thoracic Society’s 110th anniversary.

Lung Regeneration: An Achievable Mission

Four Seasons Ballroom 1-2 (Lower Level), Colorado Convention Center

Darrell Kotton

Darrell Kotton

Darrell Kotton, MD, director of regenerative medicine at Boston University, is optimistic about the prospect for lung regeneration with new tools and a better understanding of the lung and how it responds to injury.

“The great hope is that we can move beyond our current approach of minimizing harm to actual reparative therapies, where we regenerate lungs and make people better,” Dr. Kotton says.

In a Pulmonary Perspective article published in the June 15, 2012, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, titled “Next-Generation Regeneration: the Hope and Hype of Lung Stem Cell Research,” Dr. Kotton surveyed three broad areas scientists in the field are advancing:

Understanding lung epithelial responses to injury;

Developing tissue-specific candidate lung stem/progenitor cells with the capacity for broad differentiation;

Exogenous derivation of lung epithelia from embryonic stem (ES) cells or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Dr. Kotton’s research focuses on iPS cells, which sidestep the political and ethical barriers to ES cell research. Induced pluripotent cells can be created from cells anywhere in a patient’s body, so they can be gathered with minimal discomfort to the patient. And, unlike ES cells, they are genetically identical to the patient, minimizing the possibility of being rejected when reintroduced into the body.

“Lung Regeneration: An Achievable Mission” is supported by an educational grant from Lung Biotechnology.

Two Billion and Counting: Reinvigorating the Battle Against Our Old Foe, TB

Bellco Theatre Section 2 (Street Level), Colorado Convention Center

Trevor Mundel, MD, PhD

Trevor Mundel

Trevor Mundel, MD, PhD, president of the global health program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will describe the important progress the world has made against tuberculosis over the past 20 years and the work that must continue. TB remains a leading cause of death in both developing and middle-income countries. Current drugs, diagnostics, vaccines, and delivery approaches are not sufficient to sustain, let alone accelerate, reductions in global incidence.

To bend the curve on tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, fundamental questions about the basic biology of tuberculosis infection and disease must be answered. For example, there is a need to better understand TB transmission, the different stages of the disease in the human body, and its response or failure to respond to treatment. There is also need to develop and advance strategies that accelerate access to existing and new solutions.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is working with a wide range of partners in the public and private sectors to ensure the development and delivery of better tools for TB control. It is also seeking to create partnerships and expand existing collaborations to develop improved host-directed therapies and other transformational tools that can shorten treatment and reduce the risk of relapse and reinfection.