August 30, 2018

New immune cell research could lead to early detection of IPF

This Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, Lung Foundation Australia is highlighting the work of Tylah Miles, the recipient of a Lung Foundation Australia Bill van Nierop PhD Scholarship in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).

Tylah’s research project focuses on investigating the functional role of immune cells in the development and progression of lung fibrosis.

What are some of the key findings, progress and discoveries you have made with your research to date – and how will this make a difference for patients with this disease?

Our research has discovered a specific immune cell signature that may be useful in early identification of IPF. This signature identifies that a sub-group of patients who were initially diagnosed with IPF, also present with autoimmune-like features. It is possible that these individuals, with altered immune responses, may be more likely to respond to treatment with immunotherapy. Research is ongoing to determine if this discovery will be useful in identifying this group of patients that may have some cross-over features between auto-immune conditions and IPF. This work is being performed at the Institute for Respiratory Health and Centre for Respiratory Health at the University of Western Australia.

What do you hope to achieve with this research project?

In our laboratory, we combine the analysis of data taken from experimental models that mimic the disease with the detailed analysis of patient samples to investigate cell-mediated responses driving lung fibrosis. Specifically, we are investigating the functional role of immune cells in the development and progression of lung fibrosis. We hope that in time, identifying how these cells contribute to IPF will lead to the discovery of new therapeutic targets.

How important was funding from Lung Foundation Australia for your work?

This research project forms the basis of my PhD studies which are jointly funded by a Research Training Program Scholarship from the University of Western Australia and the Lung Foundation Australia Bill van Nierop PhD Scholarship in IPF.

Do you have a message for Lung Foundation Australia’s supporters?

Our laboratory-based research relies heavily on grant funding, your fundraising efforts as well as your participation in our clinical sample collection. We would like to thank Lung Foundation Australia’s supporters for your ongoing support and encouragement. Together we will reduce the burden of chronic respiratory disorders.

For more information about Lung Foundation Australia’s open Research Awards, click here.