Sandra Hodge answers the Holy Grail


23 Sep 2015

Sandra Hodge

This week we feature Sandra Hodge from Adelaide and her quest to develop novel ‘steroid-sparing’ therapies for chronic inflammatory lung diseases. 

What’s the issue your research is trying to solve?

New and effective macrophage-targeted therapies for chronic lung diseases

What have you discovered so far?

Pulmonary macrophage dysfunction that can lead to chronic airways inflammation in several chronic lung diseases including COPD, severe asthma and in children with bronchiectasis. Macrophage-targeted therapies have been discovered and translated to a clinical study in COPD and formed the basis for a large multi-centre Australian clinical trial of macrolides in asthma.

What’s been your biggest hurdle?

Funding and obtaining sufficient numbers of patient airway samples.

How far is your work from impacting patient care?

Patient care may be impacted within a couple of years if our current multi-centre clinical trial of the antibiotic, azithromycin, in asthma shows efficacy with minimal emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Otherwise the clinical impact of our alternative treatments including new antibiotics with their anti-microbial properties removed is probably up to 10 years away.

If you could discover one thing in your research, what would it be? (e.g what’s your holy grail?)

To develop novel ‘steroid-sparing’ therapies for chronic inflammatory lung diseases, ultimately leading to a curative outcome.

What does your perfect day look like?

A great coffee to start the day, lunchtime gym, quality time with family and friends and a happy and enthusiastic research team that are generating exciting data (and a couple of airway or lung samples from well categorised patients).

If you could keep three possessions what would they be?

My dog, my shack on Kangaroo Island, and my Toyota ‘Troopie’ so that I can continue camping!

What would you like your epitaph to say?

What are you doing here – get back to the lab!

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