First Fibrosis Across Organs Symposium Provides Direction for Future Research and Treatment Efforts in Fibrotic Diseases


Global experts in lung, liver, kidney, heart and skin fibrosis meet to discuss similarities and differences of fibrotic diseases that affect millions worldwide- collaboration could drive future treatments and cures

Denver, Colo., March 13, 2012 - Experts from around the globe gathered in Denver over the weekend for a workshop in fibrotic diseases that exist in different organ system, including the lung, liver, kidney, heart and skin and claim millions of lives. These discussions will advance the understanding of diagnosis and treatment in these organ systems. Most fibrotic diseases are progressive, irreversible and ultimately deadly.

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) convened the meeting March 8-11 to bring together top scientists, researchers and physicians from academia, clinical practice and industry to identify the shared molecular and physiologic responses operative during tissue injury and repair. More than 60 participants from around the world attended the meeting.

"The ATS was excited to be the first to offer a meeting of this kind to explore and identify new pathways to discovery in fibrotic diseases," said ATS Executive Director Steve Crane, PhD, MPH. "It was an impressive collaboration of experts in different specialties that we believe will advance the speed of discovery and move us faster towards treatment and cures.

"The meeting's objectives were to set the scientific priorities for future investigations in single organ and cross-organ fibrotic disease, assess the currently available experimental models and their relevance to human health and disease and to identify potential promising therapies for pathologic tissue fibrosis, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), also referred to as simply pulmonary fibrosis (PF) or lung fibrosis and fibrosis that occurs in the heart, liver, kidney and skin. "The physician and research participants at this meeting covered a lot of ground in a short period of time and worked to identify the directions we should take in the area of fibrosis," said Gregory Cosgrove, MD, chair of the Fibrosis Across Organ Systems Organizing Committee and a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health in Denver.

"The real success of this meeting will be measured by its impact on research into diseases and the lives of the patients who suffer from them and the stimulation of similar meetings around the world."

"We all work in silos and we've broken down the barriers of our silos here," said William Travis, M.D., a pathologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. "We go back to our areas to work outside of the box and work with other specialty areas."

The meeting was organized by a group of physicians, academic experts and patient advocates, including the meeting's founders, John Tosi, DDS and his wife, Teresa Barnes who chairs the ATS Public Advisory Roundtable (PAR) and is vice president of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. Other committee organizers were Kevin Brown, M.D., a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health; Dennis E. Doherty, M.D., pulmonologist at University of Kentucky and the Lexington, Kentucky Veteran's Administration (VA) Medical Centers; and Dolly Kervitsky, RCP, CCRC, an experienced respiratory therapist who is vice president of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

The outcomes of the meeting will include a "Fibrosis Roadmap" for multidisciplinary and inter-institutional investigations that will be published in a scientific journal. "It is our intent that with a multidisciplinary approach, advances in our understanding in one disease may foster understanding in different fibrosing diseases so that exponential rather than incremental advances will be achieved," said Dr. Cosgrove.

About the American Thoracic Society
Founded in 1905, the American Thoracic Society is the world's leading medical association dedicated to advancing pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. The Society's 15,000 members prevent and fight respiratory disease around the globe through research, education, patient care and advocacy.