Pulmonary Fibrosis Mortality Rates Continue to Increase, Especially in Women

Demand for PF Research Funding Greater Than Ever

SAN JOSE, Calif., Aug. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- News out today in a major medical journal predicts that mortality rates in pulmonary fibrosis (PF) will continue to climb. The finding underscores the urgent need for increased research funding in a deadly, untreatable lung disease, says the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF).

Study Findings

According to the study appearing in today's issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society (ATS), mortality rates from PF have increased significantly in recent years and have risen nearly 28.4 percent in men and at a higher rate in women, with a 41.3 percent increase. The study appears in the August 01, 2007, 2007 issue of the AJRCCM led by Amy Olsen, M.D., M.S.P.H., at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

"The problem is that as the mortality rate continues to climb, we still cannot provide life-saving treatments for these patients. What other disease affects so many, yet has no viable treatment?" said Mark Shreve, chief executive officer of the CPF. "These data continue to underscore an undeniable fact that more research needs to be initiated to determine the cause and progression of PF, so that new treatment pathways can be found. This is only going to happen through increased private and federal funding."

Urgent Need for Treatment

There is no FDA approved treatment for PF, no known cause, and no cure. The disease is characterized by relentlessly progressive and irreversible scarring in the lungs, and is ultimately fatal. Approximately 128,000 Americans suffer from PF, and an estimated 48,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. PF is difficult to diagnose and an estimated two-thirds of patients die within five years of diagnosis.

"There is no question that we need to support the efforts of the CPF and of researchers who are striving to find a cause and cure for this debilitating and devastating disease," said Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) who lost his father to PF and recently introduced legislation with Congressman Nathan Deal (R-GA) to increase awareness about the disease.

"This is why the work of the CPF and the PF community is so critical," said Rep. Baird. "Now, more than ever, we need to increase the level of awareness around this deadly disease and urge support for research funding in this area."

Research Funds Critical

"Pulmonary Fibrosis remains an extremely frustrating disease for researchers," said Kevin K. Brown, M.D., senior author of the study and vice chair of medicine at National Jewish Medical & Research Center in Denver. "The devastation it causes to patients and their families only amplifies the urgency we feel as we study the disease. While we have made some progress over the last decade, it is not nearly enough. With increased funding for much needed research, we can focus on many more promising ideas and potentially beneficial therapies that will help to solve this problem and save lives."

Greg Tino, M.D., associate professor of medicine and the director of Pulmonary Outpatient Practices in the Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Division at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia said, "The results of the study are interesting and provocative and this and other data show that pulmonary fibrosis, in general, is not a rare disease. It is a devastating disease and although our knowledge base has expanded over the last several years, we need additional commitment of resources in order to make an impact on the lives of our patients."

Disparity of Federal Funding

The disparity of federal funds put towards research in PF is profound. This year, less than $14 million will be spent on a disease that affects 128,000 people compared with hundreds of millions spent on diseases that affect a small fraction of that number of patients.

About the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis

The Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 2001 to accelerate research efforts leading to a cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), while educating, supporting, and advocating for the community of patients, families, and medical professionals fighting this disease. The CPF funds promising research into new approaches to treat and cure pulmonary fibrosis; provides patients and families with comprehensive education materials, resources, and hope; serves as a voice for national advocacy of IPF issues; and works to improve awareness of IPF in the medical community as well as the general public. The CPF's nonprofit partners include many of the most respected medical centers and healthcare organizations in the U.S. With more than 13,000 members nationwide, the CPF is the largest nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to advocating for those with pulmonary fibrosis. For more information please visit http://www.coalitionforpf.org or call (888) 222-8541.

CONTACT: Teresa Geiger of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis,+1-888-222-8541 ext 702, cell: +1-303-521-4080, tgeiger@coalitionforpf.org

Web site: http://www.coalitionforpf.org/

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Posted: August 2007

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