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Our Legacy of Discovery

NO TIME TO CATCH OUR BREATH. Since our very beginnings, The Lung Association has helped to make pulmonary history. Time and again, we have challenged the boundaries of what’s possible through groundbreaking research. We were the first to produce public health vaccines. We performed the very first single lung transplant. And we were responsible for discovering the gene that causes cystic fibrosis. Today, we are on the threshold of discovery in many other critical areas. With the statistics on lung disease moving in the wrong direction, we can’t let up for a minute. 

The Lung Association, with its supporters, has helped create some remarkable breathing breakthroughs over the decades.



Asthma characterized as an inflammatory disease



First bronchoscopy performed
(bronchoscopes are used to visualize airways in the lungs)



First public health vaccines produced
Field of thoracic surgery developed



First successful single-stage, total pneumonectomy performed
(lung excision as a treatment for lung cancer)



First large scale clinical trial of Bacille Calmetter-Guerin (BCG) vaccine
(anti-tuberculosis vaccine)



Pulmonary damage causes by smoking identified
Early diagnosis of TB through chest X-rays



First combined vaccines developed
(immunize against diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus)



Discovery of vinblastine, a plant extract that is part of
many chemotherapy regimens for patients with lung cancer



First successful trials of cyclosporine –
anti-rejection drug
used in lung transplants



Developed a high fat diet for children with cystic fibrosis (CF) that was
adopted worldwide and reduced malnutrition rates for CF patients



Development of the AeroChamber
(device used to administer aerosolized medication to patients with asthma)



Development of the high frequency oscillator – a novel ventilator –
that was used to gently “shake” oxygen into the lungs of children with severe
lung disease to prevent them from undergoing lung bypass procedures



First successful single lung transplant



Discovery of the gene that causes cystic fibrosis



Discovery that the cystic fibrosis gene produces a protein that functions as a pore and mediates normal fluid in airways, gastrointestinal tracts and sweat ducts



Development of the first draft sequence of the SARS virus



Development of the world’s first upper respiratory viral panel test
that could accurately diagnose twenty human respiratory viruses



A combined therapy using epinephrine and dexamethasone significantly reduces hospitalization admissions for infants who enter the hospital for bronchiolitis



What will tomorrow bring?