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Protecting the lungs after flu and other respiratory infections

Memphis, Tennessee, October 28, 2020

Three researchers in masks and lab coats stand in front of an illustration of lungs.

Paul Thomas, PhD (in front); David Boyd, PhD; and Jeremy Crawford, PhD, all from Immunology, are researching how certain cells play a role in regulating inflammation caused by respiratory infections. 

The greatest threat for flu patients often comes as the infection winds down. That’s because the immune response that kills the virus can also trigger inflammation that damages the lungs.

St. Jude scientists have found cells that play a key role in regulating inflammation. Evidence suggests the system is at work in children and adults with the flu.

Now researchers are working to develop drugs to tame the inflammation.

“There are no effective therapies for this life-threatening complication of flu and other respiratory infections,” said Paul Thomas, PhD, of St. Jude Immunology. “The goal is to develop a drug that would help protect lung function in the wake of flu and other viral respiratory infections, including the COVID-19 pandemic virus.”

Nature published a report on this work.

Read the News Release

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