IPF Research Overview

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The CPF Research Fund

The primary research challenge is that current investigational therapies are widely considered to be treatment to alleviate symptoms of IPF or to slow the natural, unrelenting progression of the disease, thereby extending survival. No current investigational therapy however, is viewed as a potential cure. As a result, there are myriad areas of research that require the attention of researchers and our funding to effectively advance efforts to find a cure for IPF. ; In late 2002, the CPF established its Research Fund with a goal of funding emerging approaches to understanding, treating – and ultimately curing – IPF. The Fund also aims to advance medical education of IPF to improve detection, diagnosis and treatment standards in the physician and healthcare community. This Fund was established in direct response to the  need in the research community to obtain funding to advance new approaches to understanding, treating, and ultimately curing IPF.  It continues to offer annual support to researchers whose approach promises to further our understanding of the disease and how treatments can change its course.

The success of any research program depends on patient enrollment in drug trials.  Every treatment or cure developed has relied on the participation of patients in the 3 phases of trials.  The CPF cannot stress enough how critical patient enrollment is to the future of treatment of PF and we encourage members to discuss the options available with their physician.

Primary Objectives of the CPF Research Fund

To meet this challenge the CPF focuses its research initiatives in the following areas:

  • Epidemiology – the study of the causes, distribution, and control of IPF within certain populations; research in this area can lead to better understanding of potential risk factors or exposures that can lead to IPF
  • Pathophysiology – understanding the origination and development of IPF; research in this area could lead to new approaches to targeting biological markers that cause IPF to begin, or progress
  • Translational research – bringing scientific findings at a molecular or cellular level (“bench”, or laboratory research) into clinical application, or human studies
  • Genetics – identifying the role of a gene or genes in the development of IPF; research in this area could uncover specific chromosomes that cause IPF, thereby leading to early diagnosis and treatment, or even prevention
  • Professional Education – ensuring the healthcare community is educated to properly diagnose, treat, and manage patients with IPF

To date, the CPF Research Fund has invested more than $2,000,000 in research and professional education efforts to improve clinical understanding of the disease and improve the standard of care for its treatment while awarding more than $395,000 in research gifts to leading medical centers in the United States. In 2006, the CPF also announced a groundbreaking partnership with the American Thoracic Society (ATS) of its first jointly funded multiple two-year,  research gifts.   Since that initial collaboration, the CPF has funded 8 grants to newly emerging approaches to PF treatment and has also made smaller grants based on the excellence of performance by specific centers around the country.

Education of the medical community on the epidemiology and pathology of IPF remains a challenge. In fact, the CPF’s Basic Research Questionnaire found that:

  • 15% of patients were not diagnosed according the standards set forth in the Consensus Statement of the American Thoracic Society
  • More than 60% of patients were diagnosed with another form of respiratory illness before being accurately diagnosed with IPF
  • 58% of patients went more than one year between the time they were aware of symptoms until being diagnosed with PULMONARY FIBROSIS; 16% went more than 2 years

To help improve the education of medical professionals at all levels, the CPF has funded  initiatives: produced data around patient experiences with PF; developed a guide for physicians; gathered  material reviewing the treatment options for PF patients; and developed a campaign to share the word about PF and its impact.