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Earlier Detection for a Deadly Lung Disease

By March 29, 2019No Comments

Just to the left of Dr. Guang-Shing Cheng’s office computer is a photo of a smiling young woman. It’s been there for more than a year, always in the background as Cheng writes emails and research proposals and notes in patient records.

It’s been there ever since the young woman, one of the first patients Cheng treated in Seattle, died.

Cheng couldn’t save her. No one could. She suffered from bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, or BOS, a rare but deadly complication of blood stem cell transplant. That procedure had wiped out her leukemia.

But it also set the stage for BOS, in which scar tissue chokes the tiniest airways in the lungs. The disease causes an irreversible decline in lung function, and Cheng’s patient struggled for years to take a breath. Eventually, BOS took her life.