Patients with lung disease already experience infections, flare-ups and difficulty breathing. So what happens when these people are exposed to air pollutants, which are damaging even for healthy lungs?
Researcher Annalicia is investigating how common air pollutants, such as diesel, affect patients with lung disease as well as testing how alternatives such as biodiesel may impact these lung cells.
By using a large sample of cells from 40 lung disease patients, Annalicia is using a special method of exposing these cells to various pollutants. While previous exposure methods have involved exposing lung cells to a fluid, Annalicia is exposing these cells to aspirates to better mimic a real-life scenario – breathing.
With her research, Annalicia is hoping to find out the impact of diesel and biodiesels on lung disease and cancer patients in order to potentially begin developing an intervention using antioxidants. This intervention could then be used by patients who live within or have to visit urban areas for treatment to try and fight the effects of these pollutants and reduce flare ups for patients.
This research will be highly informative and usable across the globe, with the potential to shape future biodiesel and fuel emission laws; if it leads to further patient based studies.
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Annalicia is now performing a clinical trial to see if dietary fibre can reduce inflammation in lung cells through healthy gut bacteria.