How we're researching IPF

Ian from Newcastle University shares his team's exciting research on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, is a progressive lung condition which causes scarring of the lungs. It leads to severe breathlessness and a persistent cough. The cause of this horrible disease is poorly understood and no treatments that reverse the scarring have been developed yet. 

Our team became interested in finding a way to reduce the cough that people with IPF have. Common drugs can reduce the amount of stomach acid which trickles into the throat and sometimes even into the lungs.

We thought that if we reduced the amount of stomach acid produced in people with IPF, then that might reduce the amount of scarring on their lungs. That might mean that people with IPF need to cough less. 

Thanks to a research grant from the BLF, we could run a small clinical trial with 40 patients who have IPF and test our theory.

Over 3 months, half of the participants were given a drug called omeprazole (a drug that switches off stomach acid production) and half were given a placebo (a dummy pill). We tested to see if taking omeprazole reduced coughing in people with IPF.

Although we're still in the process of reviewing the results, we hope that the study will show benefits for people with IPF. If the results are positive, we'll apply for funding to repeat the trial on a much larger scale. That might lead to the world’s first proven, effective treatment for the debilitating cough that people living with IPF have.     

We can only research IPF thanks to the generosity of people like you. Please help by donating towards IPF research today.

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20 September 2017