A team of researchers from Queens University Belfast have unearthed a potentially new way of treating serious lung injury, First Science has reported.
The team, led by Professor Danny McAuley, is investigating how the use of statins, which are usually used to treat patients with high cholesterol levels, could be used to treat lung disease.
Prof McAuley says that the statins could potentially reduce inflammation in the lung lining, which could be crucial in saving the lives of people who have suffered a traumatic injury, such as in a road accident or through a serious infection.
“When people are critically ill their lungs can fail. This is termed ‘acute lung injury’ and means that the lungs fill with water instead of air. Breathing becomes difficult and a ventilator is needed to take over.”
“There may be up to 45,000 cases of acute lung injury each year in the UK and Ireland and up to 22,000 deaths. Only around half of those who survive are able to return to work 12 months after discharge from hospital. After recovery from lung injury, patients can go on to experience a poorer quality of life and many are unable to look after themselves.”
Source: Queens University Belfast