This Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month (September), Lung Foundation Australia will provide the nation’s single-biggest philanthropic investment in dedicated Pulmonary Fibrosis research to the Centre of Research Excellence in Pulmonary Fibrosis (CRE-PF).
This $1.1 million investment will support ground-breaking and world-leading discoveries tackling the debilitating and incurable lung disease that impacts on thousands of Australians each year.
Currently, the survival rates for Pulmonary Fibrosis can be as low as some of the most devastating cancersi and with emerging research indicating post-viral lung fibrosis in COVID-19 patientsii, experts are preparing for what could be a significant wave of Pulmonary Fibrosis diagnoses over coming years. With more than 13 million recovered cases of COVID-19 worldwide, CRE-PF Chief Investigator and leading respiratory physician, Associate Professor Tamera Corte says this funding boost is more important than ever.
“Pulmonary Fibrosis can develop following chronic inflammation caused by respiratory illness so the burden of this condition after the pandemic could be substantial. With more patients impacted, it’s critical that we better understand how Pulmonary Fibrosis behaves and identify new treatments to try and slow the progression down,” A/Prof Corte said.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is an incurable and fatal lung disease that causes scarring which stiffens the lungs and progressively reduces a person’s ability to breathe.
Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke says thanks to the support of a generous donor family who lost their father to the crippling disease, the organisation has a unique opportunity to work with its research partner, the CRE-PF, to attract and support the best and brightest researchers and make significant inroads that will change lives and give hope to Australian families.
“Due to COVID-19 now, more than ever, Australians appreciate that our respiratory health determines how we live our lives. With the early insight into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, it’s vital we invest in respiratory research now to support what could be the next generation of Pulmonary Fibrosis patients,” Mr Brooke said.
“We know research breakthroughs take time and brilliant minds, that’s why it’s crucial we see ongoing support from philanthropy, government and the community.”
A/Prof Corte says this funding boost is critical to help the CRE-PF build on the significant progress made in recent years.
“Together with the team of researchers across Australia, we are looking at ways to identify which patients with lung fibrosis are likely to progress quicker than others. Some of the exciting new results have shown that there are blood and CT scan biomarkers which help us in that, and this will allow us to provide targeted and personalised treatment as early as possible,” A/Prof Corte said.
“This is amazing given just a few years ago, we had no treatment at all for this condition. Research has got us to the point where we have options which slow the disease down, but they don’t stop it completely so eventually, even with treatment, this disease relentlessly progresses and kills people.
“As a researcher, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see our understanding of a condition progress to a point like we’re at today, where there is so much hope for the future. With the support of generous donors like this, and the support of the community, we’re able to continue this research that will ultimately change and save lives.”
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