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Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh Receives $2 Million Research Grant to Study the Genomics of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

PITTSBURGH, August 25, 2003 Scientists at the Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease in the division of pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, have received a $2 million research grant to study the genomics of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

IPF affects nearly 100,000 people in the United States. It is a progressive interstitial lung disease of unknown origin that causes lung scarring. Scarring leads to stiffening of the lungs and inhibits their ability to provide oxygen to other tissues. This makes it more difficult to take a breath and prevents the lungs from supplying the body with enough oxygen. The average patient lives four to six years after diagnosis, although younger patients may live longer.

"This research grant will enable us to apply the information derived from the human genome project to better understand pulmonary fibrosis and find new targets for therapeutic intervention in IPF," said Naftali Kaminski, M.D., the director of the Simmons Center and director of the Functional Genomic Resource Center in the division of pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr Kaminski is also the Dorothy P. and Richard P. Simmons Professor of Interstitial Lung Disease at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The investigators plan to utilize microarray technology to profile the behavior games allowing them to identify gene expression patterns that distinguish IPF from normal lung tissue and from other interstitial lung diseases. The investigators will also use advanced technologies like laser capture microdissection to identify abnormal genes in single cells obtained from lungs of patients with IPF.

"This approach may revolutionize our understanding and treatment of IPF," said Dr. Kaminski. "However it is dependent on our ability to enroll patients and get lung samples from patients with interstitial lung diseases, such as IPF, who undergo lung biopsies."

Dr. Kaminski joined the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. He pioneered the application of microarray technology for lung fibrosis research and has applied this technology in a variety of models and disease states. He has also been actively involved in developing bioinformatic approaches to the analysis of microarray data and in educating biologists in bioinformatics and computational biology.

The Simmons Center was established in 2001 as a result of a donation by Richard P. Simmons and the late Dorothy P. Simmons. The aim of the center is to provide a combination of comprehensive clinical care and advanced cutting edge basic research.

For additional information on the research study, or to find out if you qualify to participate, call 412-647-3156, or e-mail the Simmons Center at

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