The lung microbiome: A new frontier in pulmonary medicine

January 23, 2014, American Thoracic Society

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."

Explore further: Report answers questions about the human microbiome and its role in health, obesity

Related Stories

Report answers questions about the human microbiome and its role in health, obesity

January 9, 2014
The human microbiome, the collection of trillions of microbes living in and on the human body, is not random, and scientists believe that it plays a role in many basic life processes. As science continues to explore and better ...

Healthy lungs' microbes focus of study on cystic fibrosis

September 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 ...

Genetic variation contributes to pulmonary fibrosis risk

April 15, 2013
A newly published study of patients with pulmonary fibrosis has discovered multiple genetic variations that should help with future efforts to treat the disease.

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 fibrosis ...

Gene study helps understand pulmonary fibrosis

April 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 ...

Research shows molecular, protein targeting therapies may be best treatment for certain lung cancer

January 7, 2014
University of Cincinnati (UC) Cancer Institute researchers have found that using therapies specifically targeting the molecular profile of non-small-cell lung cancer with the mutated cancer-causing protein KRas is the most ...

Recommended for you

New study offers insights on genetic indicators of COPD risk

January 16, 2018
Researchers have discovered that genetic variations in the anatomy of the lungs could serve as indicators to help identify people who have low, but stable, lung function early in life, and those who are particularly at risk ...

Previous influenza virus exposures enhance susceptibility in another influenza pandemic

January 16, 2018
While past exposure to influenza A viruses often builds immunity to similar, and sometimes different, strains of the virus, Canadian researchers are calling for more attention to exceptions to that rule.

Don't hold your nose and close your mouth when you sneeze, doctors warn

January 15, 2018
Pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn't a good idea, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

New antifungal provides hope in fight against superbugs

January 12, 2018
Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world—creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines—and causing deadly invasive infection. One culprit species, Candida auris, is resistant ...

Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication

January 11, 2018
A new study reveals how dengue virus manages to reproduce itself in an infected person without triggering the body's normal defenses. Duke researchers report that dengue pulls off this hoax by co-opting a specialized structure ...

Different strains of same bacteria trigger widely varying immune responses

January 11, 2018
Genetic differences between different strains of the same pathogenic bacterial species appear to result in widely varying immune system responses, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.