Treatment of chlorine-induced acute lung injury

Value Proposition

Acute lung injury (ALI) is a common respiratory syndrome that is characterized by alveolar injury of the lung. ALI is caused by multiple lung injuries, including; trauma, infection, inhalation of toxic chemicals etc. The most common pathophysiology seen in ALI patients is respiratory failure caused by leakage of fluid into the alveoli and causing an inflammatory response of alveolar walls. If not treated on time this can be come lethal to the patient. Currently, the best treatment against ALI is to move the patients on to the intensive care unit and placing them on ventilator support. Until now, there are no pharmacological treatments against ALI’s effect on the alveoli. Therefore, there is an unmet need in the clinic to develop drugs that can treat ALI directly.


To address the unmet need for better ALI treatment, Dr. Michael D. Gunn identified a new pharmacological method by targeting the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein. Based on prior art, it was known that iNOS is involved in inflammation and by inhibiting its activity, overall inflammation can be reduced. Based on this information, Dr. Gunn hypothesized that by using a pharmacological inhibitor of iNOS (, then inflammation conditioned in ALI could be alleviated. To test this in a preclinical setting, Dr. Gunn exposed ventilated pigs to chlorine gas to induce an ALI effect. Next, he treated the pigs with the NOS inhibitor GW274150 to see if this could improve pathophysiological measurement of ALI-like effects. Results demonstrated that by using the GW274150, chlorine exposed pigs, increased lung efficiency and increased survival compared to the pigs who received the placebo drug. This novel discovery shows for the first time a potential small molecule inhibitor that may be used to treat ALI.


  • New method of attenuating ALI in a chemical injury setting.
  • First pharmacological agent for the treatment of ALI.
  • Alleviate lung respiratory complications after injury.

Duke File (IDF) Number



  • Gunn, Michael


    • Patent Number: 9,901,560
    • Country: United States of America

For more information please contact


School of Medicine (SOM)