The lung microbiome: A new frontier in pulmonary medicine

The Annals of the American Thoracic Society has released a comprehensive supplement on the 56th annual Thomas L. Petty Aspen Lung Conference entitled "The Lung Microbiome: A New Frontier in Pulmonary Medicine."

More than 170 microbiologists, basic respiratory scientists, and pulmonary clinicians traveled from nine countries to convene at the three-day conference, which took place in June 2013 in Aspen, CO. Research from 12 state-of-the-art speakers, 24 oral research presentations, and 20 posters from pioneers in the emerging field are included in the supplement, as well as an introduction from conference chairs Richard J. Martin, MD, Sonia Flores, PhD, and Monica Kraft, MD, and a conference summary from James Kiley, PhD.

"The lungs of healthy humans have traditionally been considered to be sterile when examined by culture-based techniques," James Beck, MD, chief of medicine at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System in Denver, notes in his presentation. "However, molecular identification techniques are now being used to explore the lung microbiome in ways that mirror study of other body sites and organ systems. This emerging and exciting field of investigation is leading to new ways of thinking about the lung and about lung disease."

In the conference summary, Dr. Kiley, the director of the Division of Lung Diseases at National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, notes: "This meeting highlighted early scientific progress in understanding the microbiota in healthy and diseased subjects, addressed current challenges and opportunities, and discussed trends and future directions for functional studies to unravel the mechanism of disease and a more defined role of microorganisms in health.

"Part of the new frontier is that microbes were originally considered the 'enemy,' and the approach was to eradicate a bug and cure the disease. We now recognize this paradigm has evolved from microbes being enemies to being partners, and a new challenge is to understand the delicate balance and symbiosis of those communities in defining the role of the microbiome(s) in health and disease."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Healthy lungs' microbes focus of study on cystic fibrosis

Sep 27, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Healthy people's lungs are home to a diverse community of microbes that differs markedly from the bacteria found in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. That's the result of new research from Stanford ...

Researchers find genetic risk factor for pulmonary fibrosis

May 21, 2013

A paper recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and co-written by physicians and scientists at the University of Colorado School of Medicine finds that an important genetic risk factor for pulmonary fibros ...

Gene study helps understand pulmonary fibrosis

Apr 16, 2013

A new study looking at the genomes of more than 1,500 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a rare and devastating lung disease, found multiple genetic associations with the disease, including one gene variant that ...

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

18 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

18 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

Apr 19, 2014

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments