What are some of the key findings, progress and discoveries you have made with your research to date – and how will this make a difference to patients with this disease?
We have discovered a specific immune cell signature that identifies that a sub-group of patients who were initially diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), also present with autoimmune-like features. Although further validation is needed, this signature may be useful in identifying this group of patients early. It is possible that these individuals with altered immune responses may be more likely to respond to treatment with immunotherapy.
What do you hope to achieve with this research project?
Our research investigates the cell-mediated responses driving lung fibrosis. In our laboratory we combine the analysis of pre-clinical models of disease with the detailed analysis of patient samples. Specifically, we are investigating the functional role of immune cells in the development and progression of lung fibrosis. We hope that in time, identifying how these cells contribute to IPF will lead to the discovery of potential novel therapeutic targets.
How important was the funding from Lung Foundation Australia to your work?
This research project forms the basis of my PhD studies, which are jointly funded by a Research Training Program Scholarship from the University of Western Australia and the Lung Foundation Australia Bill van Nierop PhD Scholarship in IPF.
Do you have a message for Lung Foundation Australia’s supporters?
Our laboratory based research relies heavily on grant funding, your fundraising efforts as well as your participation in our clinical sample collection. We would like to thank you, the Lung Foundation Australia’s supporters, for your ongoing support and encouragement. Together we will reduce the burden of chronic respiratory disorders.