Dr Richard Allen of the University of Leicester has been awarded a Mike Bray research fellowship into the causes and treatments of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) from the charity, Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), the most common form of pulmonary fibrosis, is a devastating, terminal lung condition with increasing numbers of people affected – over 30,000 adults in the UK. There is no cure and it has no known cause. Each year around 6,000 people die from IPF and the average life expectancy from diagnosis is only three years. Compared with diseases of similar prognosis, IPF receives little attention and limited research funding. Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis (APF) is a leading funder of research into this life shattering disease.
Richard’s project will compare the DNA of individuals with IPF to identify the genes that explain why some people experience very severe disease whereas others have milder symptoms. This will improve our understanding of IPF and hopefully lead to the development of new treatments which are better targeted to the individuals who are most likely to benefit from them.
Dr Allen, who is a post-doctoral researcher supported by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, said: “I am so excited to be given this chance to extend my work on the genetics of IPF, which will help guide the development of new treatments for this devastating disease. I would like to thank Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis for giving me this incredible opportunity.”
This is one of only two research projects, which together will cost a total of £580,000. Each will run for three years. They are funded entirely from the generous donations and money raised by supporters of APF.
The fellowships are named after APF’s founding chair of trustees – Mike Bray, who passed away in 2017 from IPF.
APF Chair, Steve Jones, said: “We are really excited to be able to launch this important research project. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a devastating and incurable illness. The two projects seek to understand different aspects of the disease and we hope they will each open up new avenues for treatment. We are really grateful to our amazing supporters and their families and friends, who raised the money to make this possible.”