CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The University of Virginia Medical Center will soon be testing a drug on humans for the first time to help reduce or prevent lung injuries after transplant surgery.
Dr. Irving Kron performed the first ever lung transplant at UVA Medical in 1989. After the surgery, he had noticed complications with the lungs. They had developed an acute injury called ischemia reperfusion, which meant the patient's body tissue was damaged by the restoration of blood flow.
Now, 30 years later, a team of doctors is ready to use a drug called regadenoson on humans for the first time. This drug has previously been used to take images of patient's hearts.
Doctors believe it can help reduce a negative reaction and possibly even prevent the reaction from happening.
In the near future, 21 patients receiving lung transplants at the hospital will be given a dose of regadenoson to test how safe it is on humans.
"Once we get the dose we want and we prove it's safe, we'll then open that up to a more institutional randomized trial where we actually look at how effective it is," said Dr. Christine Lau, the Division Chief of Thoracic Surgery.
Lau states that lungs received are normally damaged in some capacity, which makes it difficult for the recipient's body to not have a negative reaction.
Doctors hope that within five years they will be able to say that regadenoson is an effective drug and can be used to reduce or prevent negative side effects.