Teresa Geiger from the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) (www.coalitionforpf.org, 1-888-222- 8541) tells us about exciting research news that has taken place recently.
The CPF and the American Thoracic Society have jointly funded a $100,000, two-year research award to Andrew M. Tager, M.D. from Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Tager will be investigating the role of lysophosphatidic acid as a potentially important element to explain how Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) begins. The acid is believed to function as a signaling molecule that triggers the development and spread of scar tissue in the lung.
The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reported researchers in Barcelona have discov- ered and patented a method to stop and reverse IPF in an animal model. (A few years back, we all got excited when giving large doses of Vitamin A seemed to reverse emphysema in lab rats but when tested in humans, it was found to be totally ineffective in accomplishing that goal. So we can’t get too excited just yet!) Type II pneumocytes, which repair damaged tissue, are transplanted into the lung. These cells will come from donors or possibly from adult stem cells. A clinical study with humans will soon be conducted in Barcelona.
A study from London confirms what many have suspected, smokers and ex-smokers with IPF have a worse prognosis than non-smokers. (A previous research study had suggested that current smokers with IPF might live longer than ex-smokers!) The study also appeared in The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
We know a study in Chest last March showed that Viagra may help to improve exercise capacity in those with IPF. A pulmonary rehabilitation therapist has asked us to poll our members to ask which exercises they feel give them the most benefit. If you send in that information to The Pulmonary Paper, PO Box 877, Ormond Beach, FL 32175, we will credit you with a year’s membership!
New Scanning Technique
A new technique of specialized magnetic resonance imaging scans the air spaces inside the lungs of children and young people. Scientists are looking to establish a link between the health of the lungs during childhood and adult lung problems. They are trying to establish if specific factors – genetic or environmental – lead to chronic pulmonary disease.
According to a recent abstract, COPD often limits exercise tolerance. An education program can play a role in improving skills, ability to cope with illness, and health status. Ask your physician for a referral to a pulmonary rehabilitation program!