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Dr. Zapol is currently the Director of the MGH Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he collaborates with many researchers to explore the pulmonary circulation of mammals in normal and disease states. Over the last 20 years, his laboratory has focused upon the physiological and pathophysiological roles of nitric oxide (NO). Based on his lab's pioneering studies, inhaled NO (INO) is now used to treat approximately 30,000 patients per year in the USA to vasodilate the pulmonary circulation and augment arterial oxygenation. For many hypoxic infants and for children after heart surgery, this inhaled therapy is life-saving. In December 1999, the FDA approved INO therapy to treat term newborn infants with hypoxic respiratory failure; this therapy was developed in our lab.The Zapol lab is presently closely allied with Dr. Kenneth Bloch's laboratory. Together they are focusing on the storage lesion of aged blood cells, and methods for preventing the toxic effects of extracellular hemoglobin that is released by hemolysis in malaria or genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia. In addition, the Zapol lab is studying how to make the transfusion of heme-based oxygen carriers both safe and effective for transfusion in the field.
A team led by MGH investigators has found that the controlled induction of the hypoxia response, the body's reaction to a reduced level of oxygen in the bloodstream, may relieve the symptoms of one of the most challenging groups of genetic disorders – mitochondrial diseases.
A lightweight, portable system developed by an MGH research team can produce the potentially life-saving gas nitric oxide from the air by means of an electrical spark.
In General awards and honors
A study published in the March 2010 issue of the journal Anesthesiology gives researchers new insights in how to better understand and control a severe side effect of hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers, often referred to as "artificial blood."
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