A May 25, 2016 article from Pulmonary Fibrosis News reports that Italian researchers are making headway in determining if a person’s IPF is progressing or not (which is in the dark and crazy place that is IPF-land, the equivalent of saying “getting better.”)
The researchers took a look at commonalities among 73 people with IPF.
Now, all of these people were candidates for lung transplantation, which leads me to believe that their IPF was in a pretty good place to begin with.
Before I started learning more about it, I had no idea that you have to be in REALLY good shape to qualify for a lung transplant. I know people with cystic fibrosis on the transplant list who actively train—running and lifting weights—in order to be considered healthy enough for the procedure.
Also, the transplant evaluation process can take up to a year—that’s eons in IPF. And once you get on the list, the average wait time in the US is about 6 months. That’s one reason why researchers are trying to find markers to measure who’s disease is likely to progress rapidly vs. slowly.
One culprit they found was inflammation: patients who had a higher level of immune response cells/molecules seemed to have more rapid progression of their IPF.
The scientists are hoping that keeping an eye on inflammation markers can help doctors predict when a person’s IPF is progressing faster than anticipated. It also may provide a clue to how to slow down the progression: will aggressively suppressing the immune system response help people with IPF stay healthier, longer?
Want to read the report yourself? Click here!
Learn more about transplantation by visiting the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) website.