Centre for Heart Lung Innovation
Room 166 - 1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1Y6
Dr Stephan van Eeden is an Internist at St Paul's Hospital and Professor in the faculty of Medicine attached to the Division of Internal Medicine & Respirology. He graduated from the University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa in 1975, and after four years as a family practitioner resumed his studies in Internal Medicine at the same University. He trained and certified in Pulmonology and Critical Care in 1985 and was promoted to Director of Critical Care, Tygerberg Hospital, University of Stellenbosch in 1989. He did his PhD in the Department of Experimental Medicine, University of British Columbia with DR James C Hogg as his supervisor. He graduated in 1995 and completed his Canadian specialist examination (FRCPC) in 1996. He is currently a Principle Investigator at the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation at SPH and Director of the COPD Chronic Disease Management Program at Providence Health Care.
Area of Interest
The focus of his research program is on the mechanisms of lung inflammation, particularly, lung inflammation caused by infection, cigarette smoking and air pollution. This research covers a broad range of clinical conditions such as pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and acute respiratory distress syndrome. He is particular interested in the systemic inflammatory response induced by lung inflammation had has numerous publication on the importance of the response of the bone marrow during acute and chronic lung inflammation. He has shown that white cells released from the bone marrow play a crucial role in the lung inflammation elicited by cigarette smoke and particulate air pollution. This research has lead to the novel hypothesis that white cells released from the bone marrow are responsible for the increase in heart and lung disease and deaths in subjects exposed to high levels of air pollution. This research has given him international recognition as an expert on the bone marrow response during lung inflammation and the response of the heart and lung to air pollution. It has led to several landmark publications including in 2002 (Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2002; 39(6): 935-942) his group was the first to show that air pollution causes the development and progression of atherosclerosis, the underlying disease in vessels responsible for stroke and heart attacks. He is currently working on the potential mechanisms how lung inflammation induced by inhalation of ambient particulate matter causes vascular disease. A recently publication in the American Journal of Physiology (Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2008 Jul;295(1):L79-85), his group showed that pro-inflammatory mediators generated in the lung spill over in the blood stream and are responsible for the downstream adverse cardiovascular health effects following exposure to air pollution. His current research efforts focus on to identify the mediators responsible for this process, research that could lead to novel therapeutic interventions to treat and prevent air pollution induced vascular disease. He recently showed that “statins”, a medication commonly use in subjects with increase blood lipid/cholesterol, significantly attenuated the inflammatory response in the lung induced by exposure to air pollution particles. This is mediated by augmentation of the processing and removal of inhaled particles by lung macrophages. This novel finding hold promise for future use of this class of drug to protect the heart and lungs during episodes of worsening air pollution.