This simple animated video from Alt Shift X explains the process of lung transplantation and some of the complications and risks associated with the procedure.
One of the main risks with lung transplants is organ rejection, whereby the body’s immune system recognizes the new lungs as foreign objects and starts to attack them. Patients who have had lung transplants have to take immunosuppressant drugs to try and prevent this from happening.
The new lungs are at risk of fibrosis (or scarring) and most patients’ new lungs will only last between two and five years. The molecular changes in the body prompts the stem cells to produce collagen which then blocks the small airways in the lungs. However, researchers are currently trying to find a way to stop this fibrosis from happening in the first place.
In a recent study, researchers have identified two compounds which trigger this chain reaction and using mouse models, have tested drugs which helped to block the stem cells from producing collagen which resulted in less scarring and less risk of organ failure. Find out more about this study here.
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