Public Release: 

National Jewish Medical And Research Center Receives $9 Million Grant To From NIH To Study Fibrotic Lung Disease

National Jewish Health

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health have awarded National Jewish Medical and Research Center a $9 million Specialized Center of Research grant to study the pathogenesis and treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.

The grant is $1.8 million a year for 5 years. This work will be part of the clinical and research program of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

"We need to learn more about the basic mechanisms of fibrosis," said Robert Mason, M.D., a National Jewish physician and principal investigator of the study. "We're focusing on inflammation and growth factors as regulators of the fibrotic response."

People with pulmonary fibrosis, also known as interstitial lung disease, generally suffer from cough. Scarring in the lungs, caused by the disease, makes the lungs stiff and causes shortness of breath. "We're trying to prevent continued scar formation in the lungs," Dr. Mason said. "Pulmonary fibrosis is a devastating disease, like cancer, with a high mortality rate."

National Jewish will continue its basic studies on the mechanism of pulmonary fibrosis and initiate clinical trials aimed at limiting the fibrotic response. Kevin Brown, M.D., of National Jewish, will head the clinical patient assessment and be responsible for controlled clinical trials. This work will be performed in collaboration with physicians and investigators at the University of Colorado.

National Jewish researchers are conducting four interstitial lung disease research projects.

The research projects include:

  • The role of T cells in inducing pulmonary fibrosis
  • Interactions between the epithelium and the mesenchyme--a network of cells--during lung injury and treatment
  • Regulation of the paroduction of fibrogenic growth factors by macrophages
  • A clinical trial using interferon gamma to control inflammation in the lungs and to control the fibrotic response

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