Texas Lung Injury Institute

The Texas Lung Injury Institute (TLII) provides state of the art research that advances our understanding about the pathogenesis of lung disease and its treatment. To promote this vital research, the UT Tyler Health Science Center created the Texas Lung Injury Institute (TLII) in 2004. Recent exciting discoveries made by TLII investigators promise to improve therapy for severe, currently untreatable lung diseases, including:

  • Acute lung injury (ALI)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs)
  • Lung cancer
  • Malignant mesothelioma (a fatal cancer of the chest wall)

These discoveries have been made in projects competitively funded through the National Institutes of Health and donations provided by foundations and individuals in the East Texas community.

Working toward Clinical Trials

The objective of the TLII Translational Medicine Initiative is to provide resources for TLII investigators that will accelerate the translation of these discoveries to testing in clinical trials. This initiative will accelerate clinical testing of promising new treatments for these common lung diseases and thereby improve lung disease outcomes and quality of life for thousands of afflicted Americans.

Collaborating with Centers of Excellence

TLII projects also involve other NIH-funded leaders in lung injury from UTMB at Galveston, Temple University, UT Austin, the NIH Clinical Center and Washington University School of Medicine. Project Lead Investigator Dr. Steven Idell, M.D., Ph.D. and co-investigators at UT Health obtained an NIH Program Project Grant for $8 million in which new therapeutic approaches to treat ALI, lung scarring, lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma have been identified.

More recently, he obtained NIH support in an RO-1 grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to study how to prevent acute inhalational lung injury. He also received a UO-1 grant from the NHLBI to test a new intervention in a clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD to prevent scarring in the space surrounding the lung; the pleural space, after acute infectious injury. These grants are currently active and will receive funding through 2018.

New Therapies

Recent discoveries by TLII investigators offer promising new therapeutic targets and identify new non-surgical treatment approaches for each of these forms of lung disease.

Among these discoveries, a patent has been issued for a new approach using a clot-busting agent to prevent lung and pleural space scarring and a new peptide (part of a protein) has shown excellent protection of the lung against scarring.

In addition, other molecules have been identified that have been used to reduce the size of lung cancers in mice and which block the growth of lung cancer or malignant mesothelioma while sparing normal cells and which lack the toxicity of traditional cancer chemotherapy.