Pulmonary fibrosis is a group of lung diseases characterized by cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and low levels of oxygen in the blood. It involves the lungs becoming stiff and holding less air than normal. In most cases, the cause is unknown.
IPF patient advocate Sandra Rock of Northern California knows the consequences all too well. She loses about 10 support group members every year to the debilitating condition.
“IPF is a devastating, progressive scarring lung disease for which there are few treatments and no cures,” Dr. Eric White, director of lung disease research at the University of Michigan Medical School, said in a press release. “Currently available medications may slow the inexorable progression of disease, but cannot halt it.”
“This research fellowship demonstrates an ongoing commitment by Boehringer Ingelheim and the ATS Foundation to support young investigators who will identify new treatments for our patients.” White said. “In a time when it is increasingly challenging to garner NIH [National Institutes of Health] support for biomedical research, this type of research award is vitally important to both researchers and patients alike.”
The two-year funding of the ATS/Boehringer Ingelheim Fellowship will run from December 2018 to November 2020. The application process is now under way. The fellowship will be awarded on the basis of research proposals’ scientific merit, innovation, feasibility, and relevance to IPF.
The ATS is a global player involved in research, patient care, and public health in lung diseases, other critical illnesses and sleep disorders. It was originally founded in 1905 to fight tuberculosis. Now it tackles asthma, COPD, lung cancer, sepsis, acute respiratory distress, and sleep apnea, among other diseases.
“We are proud to support ATS on this unique fellowship and continue our long-standing efforts to advance IPF research,” said Dr. Craig Conoscenti, an expert in interstitial lung disease in Boehringer Ingelheim’s Respiratory Clinical Development and Medical Affairs program. “This fellowship builds on our 100-year heritage in respiratory disease and offers another opportunity for our company to continue to improve care for those living with this rare lung disease.”
Boehringer Ingelheim has developed several therapies for respiratory conditions. A particular focus is finding treatments to address unmet medical needs.