The American Thoracic Society Foundation, Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis, and the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation have awarded $100,000 to Chi Hung, MD, a Clinical Instructor at the University of Washington, in Seattle, WA, to support research in idiopathic pul- monary fibrosis (IPF). Dr. Hung will use mouse models to identify cells that con- tribute to scarring in experimental models of fibrosis.
A team of scientists has identified a new way to disrupt cellular activity that causes fibrosis and scarring. The findings, pub- lished in Nature Medicine, demonstrate a potential new approach to treat fibrotic diseases such as IPF. The research tries to stop a protein, transforming growth fac- tor (TGF), that causes the scarring in your lung. This protein is normally present in the body in an inactive state and must be turned on to cause the scarring. The team has developed compounds to prevent the TGF beta protein from being activated. It was not only able to prevent fibrosis; it made fibrosis less severe even when the treatment was started after fibrosis had begun. The next steps are to determine exactly how much of the compound is needed to allow normal healing to occur instead of fibrosis. Scientists also need to study the best way to deliver the drug.
The British Lung Foundation is launch- ing a campaign to raise the profile of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in that coun- try, citing a lack of support for the 15,000 people who live with the disease in the United Kingdom. You can raise aware- ness of Pulmonary Fibrosis by wearing a bracelet from The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation! To order, visit http://pff. donorshops.com or call 1-888.733.6741. Requested donation is $2 per bracelet.
Would you like to be notified of fu- ture studies to investigate causes and treatments of pulmonary fibrosis? The PF Registry is a confidential database of individuals diagnosed with PF (and/or their primary supporters/caregivers) who wish to be contacted about participating in research projects as they become available. Visit http:// pulmonaryfibrosisresearch. org for more information.
Rare Connect (www.rareconnect.org) is an Internet support group for people with rare medical disorders including IPF. The organization would like to connect med- ical experts and people around the world who suffer similar symptoms so they may learn from and support each other. From their home page, pick IPF from the list of their patient communities to enroll in the online program.