Synthetic lung surfactant as a therapeutic modality
Research DescriptionDr. Walther leads a multi-dimensional research project aimed at developing a synthetic lung surfactant to treat breathing problems in preterm infants with surfactant-deficiency and lung immaturity (respiratory distress syndrome, RDS) and in (near)term infants with surfactant inactivation due to meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS). Synthetic surfactant treatment may also be beneficial in children and adults with surfactant insufficiency caused by pneumonia or chemical lung injury (acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS). His research is an essential element of the rescue treatment for infants, children and adults in respiratory distress.
Dr. Walther’s lab seeks to design, synthesize, and bring effective lung surfactant peptides, modeled after the sequence of human surfactant proteins B and C (SP-B and SP-C) to clinical care. Additionally, he is working towards developing an advanced lung surfactant preparation for an aerosol delivery system that would eliminate the need for intubation.
Dr. Walther also has been working closely with researchers at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands to investigate the pathophysiology of chronic lung disease (bronchopulmonary dysplasia) in preterm infants. Their discoveries are ready to be introduced into clinical care.
- MD, 1972, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
- PhD, 1982, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
Recent and/or Significant Publications
- Synthetic lung surfactant reduces alveolar-capillary protein leakage in surfactant-deficient rabbits. Gupta R, Hernández-Juviel JM, Waring AJ, Walther FJ. Exp Lung Res 2015 Jun;41(5):293-9.
- Metformin attenuates hyperoxia-induced lung injury in neonatal rats by reducing the inflammatory response. Chen X, Walther FJ, Sengers RM, Laghmani el H, Salam A, Folkerts G, Pera T, Wagenaar GT. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2015 Aug 1;309(3):L262-70.
- Surfactant protein C peptides with salt-bridges ("ion-locks") promote high surfactant activities by mimicking the α-helix and membrane topography of the native protein. Walther FJ, Waring AJ, Hernández-Juviel JM, Ruchala P, Wang Z, Notter RH, Gordon LM. PeerJ 2014 Jul 15;2:e485.
- Aerosol delivery of synthetic lung surfactant. Walther FJ, Hernández-Juviel JM, Waring AJ. PeerJ 2014 May 27;2:e403.