Interstitial Lung Disease Remains Major Diagnostic Challenge


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Veracyte, Inc.recently presented four abstracts  on current diagnostic challenges related to interstitial lung disease (ILD) and the potential for improved diagnostic procedures using novel genomic-based strategies. The abstracts were given at the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s PFF Summit 2015: From Bench to Bedside at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C., in November.

Up to 200,000 patients every year in the U.S. and Europe are thought to develop ILD, a large group of disorders that includes idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), among the most of common and deadly of these disorders and one the more difficult to diagnose. IPF, like ILD, is characterized by progressive scarring of lung tissue and lung stiffness, affecting the ability to breathe and get enough oxygen into the bloodstream.

“The recent availability of therapies that slow progression of IPF makes improved, timely diagnosis of this disease even more imperative,” said Bonnie Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Veracyte, in a press release. “We are proud that the new research findings that we and others are sharing at this year’s Summit help to elucidate the specific challenges associated with ILD and IPF diagnosis, as well as promising, potential solutions.”

All four abstracts were part of a poster session held on Nov. 12. One of the posters, presented by Dr. Jing Huang, was titled “Diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: Classifying the usual interstitial pneumonia pattern in transbronchial biopsies using machine learning”, and revealed new results on the capacity of a Veracyte molecular classifier to differentiate IPF from other ILDs in bronchoscopy patient samples. This molecular classifier may make accurate IPF diagnosis possible without the need for invasive surgery.

The other presentations assessed the challenges patients and physicians encounter in confirming an ILD diagnosis. The presentations comprised data from a national physician survey investigating the possible clinical utility of a molecular classifier being developed by Veracyte in reducing the need for invasive diagnostic techniques, and in quantifying the degree to which non-expert pulmonologists and field specialists differ regarding the use of invasive ILD diagnostic techniques. In addition, results from a national survey, commissioned by PFF and funded by Veracyte, investigating the diagnostic experiences of 600 patients with IPF and ILD were presented.

According to the press release, the other presenters and abstract titles were:

  • Xiaoping Wu, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College. “The clinical utility of a molecular diagnostic in differentiating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis from other interstitial lung diseases.
  • Elizabeth Belloli, MD, University of Michigan. “Current diagnostic approaches in ILD: ILD versus non-specialty clinics.
  • David J. Lederer, MD, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. “Interstitial lung disease patient diagnostic journey (INTENSITY) survey.