A project to fight pulmonary hypertension
CGP/DICYT Pulmonary hypertension is a rare disease that affects lung arteries causing their progressive narrowing. Diagnosis generally occurs late, when treatment options are less, because there are not any diagnostic tools for early detection. On the occasion of the World Pulmonary Hypertension Day on May 5th, the Fundación Contra la Hipertensión Pulmonar (FCHP), a foundation against pulmonary hypertension, has launched a crowd funding platform to sponsor a research project called Enpathy; its main objectives are to facilitate early diagnoses and to find a definitive cure. The project involves scientists from several Spanish hospitals and universities, the Universidad de Valladolid, for instance.
With Enpathy (New therapeutic targets in pulmonary hypertension) more than 1,000 Spanish families and 120,000 families worldwide are to be benefited. All research stages require a 1.7 million Euros budget and individual, company and institutional funding has already been achieved through various platforms.
Studies will be conducted in four areas. The first one will be focused on new treatments, trying to establish mechanisms affecting cells and molecules involved in the development of the disease, in order to prevent its development or even finding a cure. This research will be set up with studies related to genomics, proteomics and cell therapy; according to FCHP information compiled by DiCYT.
The second area is about upgrading new methods of analysis in order to assess the severity of the disease and patient’s response to therapies, through cell fractionation techniques, genomics and metabolomics. Especial attention will be paid to the studies on integrity and endothelial function in the diagnosis and monitoring of the disease.
The third area aims to go into the use of state-of-art imaging in greater depth in order to visualize pulmonary circulation distribution, morphology and heart function. Finally, a Spanish pulmonary hypertension biobank will be created, containing biological samples from people affected by the disease. The repository will be linked to the Spanish registry of patients, so samples and clinical information may be used in future studies all around the world.
Increasing Life Expectancy
Pulmonary hypertension alters breathing, reduces exertion capacity and, as it progresses, it causes heart failure. Latest scientific breakthroughs have increased life expectancy of patients, from the three years established when performing diagnosis, to twenty years achieved in some patients. Furthermore, there are treatments available that improve quality of life, enhancing, to some extent, exertion tolerance; although no cure has been found yet.
According to Enrique Carazo, chairman of the Foundation, “World Pulmonary Hypertension Day is a precious opportunity to heighten awareness on the disease and, specifically, to unite desires of all international bodies represented by us with the large number of people affected by a condition that is intended to be definitely cured”. Regarding the crowd funding platform, “any small contribution will be useful to take a step forward to fight the disease. Anyone should be worried about making small donations because with everybody’s help, little by little, we will achieve great goals. Actually, according to estimates, 15 Euros are enough to help one person”, he concludes.