Pitt, Yale Universities Join Consortium to Advance Therapy Development

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by Aisha I Abdullah PhD |

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The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Yale University School of Medicine were selected to join the Three Lakes Consortium for Pulmonary Fibrosis to help advance the development of new treatments for pulmonary fibrosis (PF).

As part of the consortium, both universities will be collaborating with the Three Lakes Foundation and at least 10 other institutions worldwide. Together, they will work towards a better understanding of PF development and progression, with the ultimate goal of developing new therapies for the disease and improving patient outcomes.

“The Consortium provides a framework for cooperation and coordination among leading pulmonary researchers at medical institutions dedicated to improving care and health outcomes through the development and delivery of new medicines,” Dana Ball, executive director of the Three Lakes Foundation, said in a press release.

The consortium consists of three workgroups — the PF Connectome, the PF Translation, and the PF Early Disease — that will work interdependently to address different challenges in PF research and therapy development.

The PF Connectome workgroup will use artificial intelligence and single-cell analysis technologies to develop a public atlas to visualize and explore PF-specific cell and molecular data. The workgroup will be led by Naftali Kaminski, MD, professor of medicine and pharmacology, and chief of pulmonology, critical care, and sleep medicine at Yale. Kaminski previously worked on the team that created the IPF Cell Atlas, the largest online repository of gene activity data obtained from single-cell analysis of patient lung cells.

The PF Translation workgroup will develop a pipeline of human translational PF models that will provide the PF community a core resource to accelerate the discovery and validation of new treatment candidates. The workgroup will be led by Melanie Königshoff, MD, PhD, visiting professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Königshoff leads a multidisciplinary research program on age-related chronic lung diseases at the university, and helped kickstart the development and implementation of human tissue-based models to study PF.

The PF Early Disease workgroup, currently under development, will focus on studying PF development and progression, identifying individuals at risk, and improving patient long-term clinical outcomes. This workgroup is expected to launch next summer.

“The Consortium is an integral component of our innovative PF ecosystem,” said Cheryl Nickerson-Nutter, PhD, Three Lakes Foundation’s executive vice president of research and development. “Three Lakes Foundation is bringing together many of the top investigators in pulmonary research supported by well-known medical research institutions to collaborate on making a cure for PF a reality.”

The foundation is a Chicago-based nonprofit that connects researchers, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists working towards the common goal of improving PF research outcomes, treatments, and diagnosis.

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