In the late 19th century, SAHZU set up one of the first tuberculosis hospitals in Hangzhou and ushered in an era of modern pulmonary medicine in China.

One and a half centuries later, SAHZU pulmonary team has made groundbreaking achievements in their research in chronic airway diseases, lung cancer, interventional respiratory diseases and lung infections and other subspecialties. For example, their research demonstrated for the first time a causal relationship between eosinophil (EOS) and asthma pathogenesis, and the critical role of EOS in regulation and activation of bone marrow stem cell. To tackle the challenges in early diagnosis of atypical asthma, the team identified a new asthma subtype known as chest tightness variant asthma and suggested that the same treatment protocol be used for both typical and atypical asthma. For steroid-resistant asthma that is difficult to treat and has a higher mortality rate, the pulmonary team showed in animal models that therapeutic effects by Bcl2 inhibitors can induce apoptosis of both EOS and neutrophils.

Another focus of SAHZU pulmonologists is airway epithelial injury. Recently, they demonstrated for the first time that DNA replication in damaged epithelial cells could also occur in the mitotic phase, suggesting a new direction in epithelial damage research and targeted tumor therapy. Furthermore, the pulmonologists clarified the key roles of mTOR-autophagy pathway in regulation of airway epithelial injury induced by cigarette smoke, airborne particles, allergens, or endotoxins.

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