Study reveals what triggers lung damage during COVID-19

Researchers found that a specific subtype of macrophages that originated from blood monocytes plays a key role in the hyper-inflammatory response in SARS-CoV-2 infected lungs, by performing single-cell RNA sequencing of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cells. This study provides new insights for understanding dynamic changes in immune responses to COVID-19. Source

Researchers identify approach for potential nontypeable haemophilus influenzae vaccine

Scientists have identified two proteins that could be used for a potential vaccine against nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi). Working in a mouse model, the investigators found that administering two bacterial adhesive proteins that play a key role in helping the bacteria to latch on to respiratory cells and initiate respiratory tract infection stimulated protective immunity against diverse NTHi strains, highlighting the vaccine potential. Source

High respiratory efforts in COVID-19 patients could result in self-inflicted lung injury, study shows

Some COVID-19 patients who experience acute respiratory failure respond by significantly increasing their respiratory effort — breathing faster and more deeply. There is concern among some doctors that this level of respiratory effort can lead to further damage to these patients’ lungs. Working with intensive care clinicians, engineering researchers have used computational modeling to provide new evidence that high respiratory efforts in COVID-19 patients can produce pressures and strains inside the lung that can result in injury. Source

Firefighters found to have persistent lung damage from Fort McMurray wildfire

Firefighters at the center of the battle against the massive Fort McMurray, Alberta wildfire in 2016 have persistent lung damage, according to new findings by a occupational health research team. The firefighters had more than double the risk of developing asthma compared with the general population. They also exhibited a number of changes in lung function tests supportive of an effect on the lungs, including greater lung hyperreactivity and increased thickening of the bronchial wall. Source

Preventing lung cancer’s unwelcome return

Approximately 15% of lung cancer tumors are caused by a mutation in a growth receptor called EGFR. An effective drug can kill most of the cancer cells, but the tumor eventually grows back. Researchers investigated the molecular mechanisms behind this relapse. They discovered that some of the cells were resistant to the EGFR treatment; they survived using a parallel pathway. Source

Potential marker for success of immunotherapy in the treatment of lung cancer

Lung cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers, and treatment options are extremely limited, especially for patients with oncogenic mutations in the KRAS gene. Some patients respond very well to treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors while it is completely ineffective in others. A research group identified a potential marker for the success of immunotherapy in lung cancer patients and explained the underlying molecular processes. Source

Streptococcus pneumoniae sticks to dying lung cells, worsening secondary infection following flu

Researchers have found a further reason for the severity of dual infection by influenza and Streptococcus pneumonia — a new virulence mechanism for a surface protein on the pneumonia-causing bacteria S. pneumoniae. This insight comes 30 years after discovery of that surface protein, called pneumococcal surface protein A. This mechanism had been missed in the past because it facilitates bacterial adherence only to dying lung epithelial cells, not to living cells. Source