NIH Clinical Center (CC)
Other speakers include Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), founders of the Congressional Pulmonary Hypertension Caucus. Both congressmen have personally witnessed the debilitating effects of pulmonary hypertension through loved ones and are long-time supporters and advocates of pulmonary hypertension research.
"Twenty years ago, there were no effective treatments for patients with pulmonary hypertension, whose life expectancy was only a couple of years following diagnosis," notes NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. "Scientific advances have begun to transform our understanding of this debilitating disease, moving pulmonary hypertension from the ranks of diseases that once were considered to be untreatable to the growing list of conditions for which medical science offers hope of a better quality of life and more years to enjoy it."
By improving understanding of the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the development and progression of pulmonary hypertension, scientists have developed therapies that have been shown to help some patients by improving their quality of life and allowing them to live longer. However, patients' responses to therapies vary, so researchers are continuing to explore treatments that address several biological pathways. Recent research has focused on cellular and molecular mechanisms and pathways involved in pulmonary vascular remodeling. One area of promise is the use of gene therapy to inhibit and possibly reverse the effects of pulmonary hypertension.
Basic and clinical research studies have also led to increased knowledge of the causes of pulmonary hypertension, enabling scientists to better identify patients at risk. For example, NHLBI-supported researchers have identified a genetic defect linked to pulmonary hypertension. In addition, the scope of conditions associated with pulmonary hypertension, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), obstructive sleep apnea, and sickle cell disease, has widened. Nonetheless, because the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension, such as shortness of breath and unexplained fatigue, are general and often resemble signs of other conditions, many patients remain undiagnosed or are diagnosed only after right heart failure has developed. Improving methods to identify patients at risk and to diagnose patients could lead to earlier and more effective treatment.Selected presentations:
Note to Editors: Conference agenda, speaker biographies and abstracts, and other details are available at www.strategicresults.com/ph. To arrange interviews with speakers and/or to register in advance, contact the NHLBI Communications Office at (301) 496-4236 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reporters can also register onsite at the conference.
Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.