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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Need A Lung Disease Expert? Visit Israel!

For patients suffering from lung disease, finding a medical expert to talk to is usually a good first stop.

But if you wanted to speak to the leading authority on the issue, you may have to book a flight to the holy land. Either that or hunt down Dr. Naftali Kaminski's phone number in Israel.

(Jerusalem Post) [T]oday Kaminski is a world expert in IPF - a disease that inflames and scars air sacs deep within the lungs, making the lung tissues stiff and limiting their ability to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream. According to Kaminski's research, more than 100,000 people worldwide are affected with IPF. Although smoking and exposure to dust increases a person's risk, the disease's exact causes are unclear. [...]

"I started relatively early applying genomic techniques to pulmonary fibrosis. 'Genomic techniques' mean that instead of looking at a single gene, you look at all the genes of the genome, which allows you to identify many more targets. It doesn't only depend on intuition or fantasies - or scientific knowledge for that matter - but on your ability to analyze new chunks of data. You can look at 25,000 genes, do experiments, and come up with key regulatory molecules and pathways and so on," he said.

Ironically Kaminski never specialized in this specific field, and after doubts from colleagues he decided to attack the complexities of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (aka IPF) differently.

Kaminski's approach to IFP is helping (not to mention inspiring) researchers understand on how this disease operates, which will hopefully translate to finding ways to detect (and ultimately treat IFP earlier.

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