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Airway Epithelial Research

The Airway Epithelial Research Team is investigating the role of the epithelium in the development of airway diseases including asthma, cystic fibrosis and lung transplant rejection. Anthony Kicic

Understanding the importance of the regulatory mechanisms involved in each of these disease processes is essential if effective prevention and therapeutic strategies are to be developed.

In addition, they are also investigating the stem cells found in the lung and are examining their role in airway healing as well as other functions to try and identify areas for therapeutic targeting. This research has the potential to translate from the laboratory bench into clinical practice in the form of cellular therapy (alone or in combination with other therapies) and is a novel practical approach to treat airway disease.

The group has successfully established and optimised a primary cell in vitro model for each of these disease settings using airway cells recovered by a safe and routinely performed method. To our knowledge, we are one of only a handful of laboratories to be performing this in children with asthma or cystic fibrosis, and the only lab that can compare samples with age and sex matched healthy controls.

Using our unique research program the team is not only able to study mechanisms underlying particular airway diseases but has developed functional outcome tests which enable them to conduct preclinical trials of potential new drugs as well as through the repurposing of currently available medications.