Severe lung problems, resulting in the inability of the patient to deliver oxygen to tissues, constitute one of the main reasons for admission to Intensive Care Units. Acute lung injury, which can lead to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), is a devastating disease process, which occurs predominantly in young, previously healthy people and is responsible for thousands of adult and paediatric deaths annually worldwide.
A team of researchers from National University of Ireland, Galway, University College Hospital, Galway and University College Dublin, lead by Dr. John Laffey, has been presented with the prestigious Yamanouchi European Foundation Award, to investigate a novel therapeutic approach to this problem, which is hoped will lead to better outcomes. The award is valued at $150,000.
"When ARDS occurs in the context of multisystem organ failure, mortality rates over 60% have been reported with significant damage to the lungs in over 50% of survivors", says Dr. John Laffey. The research team, which also includes Professor Tim O'Brien of NUI, Galway's Department of Medicine and Professor Paul McLoughlin of UCD, have embarked on the two-year research project. The social cost of ARDS to society, both in financial terms, and in terms of personal suffering is enormous. The condition confers a considerable long-term illness and disability burden on the individual sufferer and on society. Quality of life in survivors from ARDS is poor with debilitating long-term pulmonary, psychological and neurological complications being common.
"We are delighted to have been presented with the Yamanouchi European Foundation Award", said Professor O'Brien. "It is a tremendous support for our research, the outcome of which will benefit the many people worldwide who suffer from acute lung injury. It also recognises the valuable collaborative research taking place between the University and the Hospital.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Mr. Joe Harford, Trustee, Yamanouchi European Foundation and President and Chief Executive Officer of Yamanouchi Ireland Co., Ltd., congratulated the recipients. "The award winning project is a prime example of co-operation between universities through interdisciplinary research. The long-term benefits from this project will be substantial adding to our understanding and treatment of acute lung injury and ultimately benefiting the quality of peoples lives.
Established in 1993 by Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., the Yamanouchi European Foundation promotes the advancement of medical and related sciences by supporting programmes and activities that contribute to the advancement of an increasingly healthy society.
Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418