Laura L Koth, M.D.


Research Interests:
Sarcoidosis Granulomatous Lung Diseases T cells Monocytes chemokines

Dr. Koth’s research program is structured around the study of samples from human research studies. With the breath of research techniques that can be applied to human samples to learn about disease, Dr. Koth is taking a direct approach in the study of lung diseases. Dr. Koth’s current focus involves understanding the inflammatory disease called sarcoidosis. This is not a disease as common as asthma, but it affects both young and middle aged people and causes significant morbidity and mortality. More awareness and funds are needed if we hope to understand the complicated biology of the disease. For example, many of the main immune subsets of the body are abnormally regulated in this disease. Most research has focused on the traditional T-cell. For example, it is thought that specific T cells are very activated and making inflammatory products which are contributing to and continuing the disease. However there are other immune cells that have not been studied adequately. Dr. Koth’s lab has taken an active interest in these other types of immune cells. One reason for this is that we have identified, using Genomics research, that specific transcripts in the blood actually predict whether a specific patient will have progressive disease or not. She and her lab are now pursuing a line of investigation to understand where this ‘biomarker message’ is coming from in order to be able to stop it.

Dr. Koth’s lab is also interested in using state-of-the-art technology to think about new therapies for this disease. We are looking into cutting-edge translational methods of expanding a type of immune cell responsible for down regulating the inflammatory process of the body. To perform these experiments in clinical trials will require significant financial support and we are seeking this input in order to move this very exciting potential treatment forward. The other aspect of my research program includes the development of a ‘center of excellence in sarcoidosis’. This program will be designed to include both excellence in clinical care and novel clinical studies. Developing clinical care standards is an important area in managing sarcoidosis patients since sarcoidosis is a chronic disease that may be active for 10-20 years or more. Thus, a full-service clinical care program would facilitate the creation of clinical management tools and treatment regimens (developed as products from clinical trials networks) to address three arms of care in sarcoidosis: 1) organ damage, 2) symptom control, and 3) psychosocial aspects of living with the disease.

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