For Dr Matthew Parker, research means more accurate diagnosis and better treatment outcomes.
What inspired you to undertake this research project?
I have always been motivated to try to make my research clinically relevant. I see a real potential for the findings that we make hopefully improving the early accurate diagnosis of interstitial lung disease. The technologies that I am exploring are potentially widely available and relatively cheap and can hopefully be used to improve outcomes for patients with Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF).
Can you outline your research methods and goals?
My goal is to improve the accurate diagnosis of the various causes of interstitial lung disease and, in particular, those patients who have an underlying autoimmune condition who could benefit from treatment. In particular, I have an interest in a technique called capillaroscopy, where we can visualise or look at the blood vessels in the periphery of patients, which can in turn inform some of the disease processes that are also going on in the lungs.
How do you envision this will impact the health and wellbeing of patients?
The aim is to improve the diagnosis in patients early, so we can better target prompt appropriate therapy such as immunosuppression to stabilise or ideally reverse PF.
How important was funding from Lung Foundation Australia for your work?
In terms of the impact of what I’m able to achieve, it has been a complete game changer. I feel privileged to receive the very generous award from Lung Foundation Australia and the family of Brian Eaton. Without the financial support I would not have the time necessary to dedicate to my research.
A number of our research awards are funded through generous donations from patients and families impacted by lung disease. If you had the opportunity, what would you say to someone considering donating to lung-focused research?
It is very common for clinicians to have ideas we feel could make a difference to patient’s management but often do not have the resources and time to pursue the ideas with research without funding.
A generous gift towards lung health research has allowed Dr Parker to dedicate time and resources into looking for ways to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease.
What change do you hope to see in the lung disease and lung cancer space by 2030?
My hope is that, through research, we are able to identify patients with PF early and learn to better target the various treatments already available as well as even more effective ones hopefully available in the near future.
30 Reasons for Research
For the Eaton family, the work of Dr Matthew Parker means hope for other families, and other patients, of better treatments and even a cure for those living with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) and other lung conditions. Brennan says his father Brian, who passed away five years after being diagnosed with IPF, wanted his legacy to be a better understanding and better outcomes in the future.