Warren M. Zapol, MD, 79, Massachusetts General Hospital emeritus anesthetist-in-chief (1994-2008), and the Reginald Jenney Distinguished Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School, passed away on December 14, 2021.
The Zapol Lab, a multidisciplinary research center part of the Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research, is directed at understanding a wide range of critical illnesses that can be therapeutically treated with novel inhaled gases, phototherapy and drugs. Inhaled nitric oxide (NO) is a central focus of the laboratory research, both as a selective pulmonary vasodilator and a safe method for loading the body with NO donor molecules. We are working on developing novel electric spark devices to economically produce pure and safe NO gas for the world (recently spinning off a company—Third Pole, Inc.). We are studying inhaling high levels of NO gas to kill bacterial infections, e.g., cystic fibrosis, murine bacterial infections like Klebsiella and fungi like Candida. Thus, the prevention and treatment of acute lung injury is studied in murine models.
With our Wellman lab colleagues, we are studying photo therapy with red-light extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to remove carbon monoxide from CO-poisoned pigs. Members of our lab are working with colleagues from the Boston University Medical Center and Children’s Hospital (patients with sickle cell) and the Broad Institute (novel compounds) to study novel drugs to treat sickle cell disease and prevent hypoxic sickling in human sickle cell blood and sickle cell mice. Our lab also works with the U.S. Army to study NO prevention of coagulation allowing porcine ECMO without heparin anticoagulation. With our colleagues in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, we study hypoxic treatment of mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
Our lab has diverse interests including the study of vaping. We are always ready to study another novel disease, like the Coronavirus, and the effect of NO inhalation on it.