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Release Date: 10/22/2015

Juan Sanchez-Esteban, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and staff neonatologist at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, was awarded a $25,000 grant in support of his project titled “Role of Exosomes in Fetal Lung Development.” This is a pilot project funded by Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) to investigate the role of exosomes in fetal lung development. Exosomes are small particles released by the cells containing important information for cell-to-cell communication such as genetic material and proteins.

“This pilot study will investigate whether isolated lung cells exposed in the lab to stretch, mimic the stretch that normally occurs in lung development releasing exosomes. We will also test whether these isolated exosomes given to the cells stimulate development,” said Dr. Sanchez-Esteban. “The fetal lung requires distention for normal development which is generated by fluids released inside the lungs that generate this stretch or distention. If you suppress any physical forces required for fetal lung development, the lungs do not form properly.”

The results of these investigations regarding the administration of exosomes to fetus or preterm newborns could be the next step in accelerating lung development in high-risk cases, explained Dr. Sanchez-Esteban.

Dr. Sanchez-Esteban received his medical degree from the Universidad Autonoma De Barcelona in Spain. He went on to complete his internship at the Metropolitan Hospital Center and his residency at the Metropolitan Health Medical Center in New York. His fellowship was completed with Women & Infants Hospital. Dr. Sanchez-Esteban also holds privileges at Kent Hospital and Memorial Hospital, both members of Care New England.

About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the 12th largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,500 deliveries per year. A Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.
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