iny, premature babies born with significant lung problems are
usually in serious danger of developing lifelong pulmonary and neurological damage. Winthrop neonatologist Jonathan Davis, MD and a team of
scientific researchers he directs in Winthrop’s CardioPulmonary Research Institute (CPRI) have been awarded major grants for their ground breaking research to prevent these problems.
Jonathan Davis, MD, Director of
Neonatology and Newborn Medicine,
is also the Director of the Hospital’s CardioPulmonary Research Institute.
Dr. Davis, Winthrop’s Director of Neonatology and Newborn Medicine, recently concluded a comprehensive trial of the beneficial effects of an antioxidant protein, superoxide dismutase, on the lungs of
premature babies. The apparent success of the trial has generated enough interest and enthusiasm at the National Institute of Health (NIH) to merit an additional grant of $2.186 million to proceed with the next component
of the study. This funding also derives from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The new study, with Dr. Davis as Principal Investigator, will be conducted primarily at Winthrop, in
conjunction with research
teams from the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University, through June 30, 2005.
The first trial was a 20-site national study, which reasonably demonstrated the protection afforded by the delivery of superoxide dismutase into the lungs of tiny, premature newborns. This protein, normally produced in healthy lungs, can now be constituted in the
laboratory. Lung and brain
problems have been significantly decreased in premature babies who received the protein soon after birth.
“The new grant will enable our team to research and further refine methods to more perfectly formulate superoxide dismutase in the laboratory; to develop
better ways to deliver it to the infants’ lungs; and to improve the ways in which it works,” said Dr. Davis.
Right now, the recombinant protein cell is delivered directly into the lungs of premature newborns through mini-catheters. Treatment with superoxide dismutase is preventing chronic lung problems such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia, asthma, and neurological abnormalities.
CC10 Research at Winthrop.
Additionally, Dr. Davis has been named Principal Investigator
and recipient of $125,000 for research from the NIH, NHLBI, and Claragen, Inc., for further studies of CC10.
CC10 is the shorthand name of the Clara cell protein, also normally produced in a healthy lung, now made in the laboratories of Claragen, Inc., a biotechnical corporation. In cases where the Clara cell protein is deficient in premature babies, the recombinant Clara cell, CC10, can be introduced into the lungs.
“It is now possible to safely combine more than one artificially produced protein in the treatment of premature babies’ lungs,” Dr. Davis explained.
The Winthrop CPRI research team experiments with various combinations to determine the best regimen for each patient.
“Winthrop is proud to be leading the development of recombinant proteins that will become the standard of care in the future,” concluded Dr. Davis.
For more information, call Dr. Davis at (516) 663-3853.