Future Research Directions in Pneumonia. NHLBI Working Group Report


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Abstract

Pneumonia is a complex pulmonary disease in need of new clinical approaches. Although triggered by a pathogen, pneumonia often results from dysregulations of host defense that likely precede infection. The coordinated activities of immune resistance and tissue resilience then dictate whether and how pneumonia progresses or resolves. Inadequate or inappropriate host responses lead to more severe outcomes such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and to organ dysfunction beyond the lungs and over extended time frames after pathogen clearance, some of which increase the risk for subsequent pneumonia. Improved understanding of such host responses will guide the development of novel approaches for preventing and curing pneumonia and for mitigating the subsequent pulmonary and extrapulmonary complications of pneumonia. The NHLBI assembled a working group of extramural investigators to prioritize avenues of host-directed pneumonia research that should yield novel approaches for interrupting the cycle of unhealthy decline caused by pneumonia. This report summarizes the working group's specific recommendations in the areas of pneumonia susceptibility, host response, and consequences. Overarching goals include the development of more host-focused clinical approaches for preventing and treating pneumonia, the generation of predictive tools (for pneumonia occurrence, severity, and outcome), and the elucidation of mechanisms mediating immune resistance and tissue resilience in the lung. Specific areas of research are highlighted as especially promising for making advances against pneumonia.

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