Researcher seeks to improve diagnosis of radiation lung injuries
Aug. 21, 2012 College News - The Medical College of Wisconsin received a five-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study innovative methods for diagnosing radiation lung injuries before symptoms develop.
Meetha M. Medhora, PhD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, is the principal investigator for the grant.
The lung is very sensitive to radiation. There is a window of about six to eight weeks between radiation exposure and symptoms of lung injury. This project seeks to identify biological markers in exhaled breath and blood that could be used to predict radiation injuries to the lung before symptoms emerge.
This work will be done in collaboration with Elizabeth Jacobs, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Pulmonary Medicine at MCW. Dr. Medhora’s team will test rat models of radiation injury developed in the irradiation facility at MCW, led by Dr. John Moulder and Brian Fish. They will also investigate injury by neutron and gamma rays in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. The researchers will use high resolution lung imaging to identify characteristic patterns of change after radiation, in collaboration with Anne Clough, PhD, Professor and Chair of mathematics, statistics and computer science at Marquette University.
This research may lead to novel methods of diagnosing radiation lung injuries at an early stage. The advancements could benefit people injured following a radiological terrorist attack or nuclear accident as well as patients undergoing radiation therapy for lung and breast cancers.