The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) announced that it was recently added to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s Care Center Network. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) selected 12 new sites to be added to the 9 centers previously selected in 2013.
The PFF Care Center Network includes 21 sites across 20 states; it brings together leading medical centers with the adequate expertise to treat pulmonary fibrosis — a set of disorders such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and interstitial lung disease. These are diseases that are difficult to diagnose and manage, and are often associated with survival rates less that five years after diagnosis.
Victor Thannickal is heading the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at UAB, a leading clinical care and research site for pulmonary fibrosis. Several NIH-funded grants are supporting the research projects of this division, including a project to develop new therapies for IPF. About 500 patients are currently followed by the Interstitial Lung Disease clinic in The Kirklin Clinic, which expects to add 200 new patients per going forward.
Joao de Andrade, the director of the UAB ILD Program, said in a press release: “Due to the geographic location of UAB, the growth of the research enterprise and the availability of new drugs to treat IPF, we are seeing patients referred to us from Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and even from more distant regions in the United States. The selection of our program to become a member of the PFF Care Center Network is another recognition of UAB as a national center of excellence in ILD.”
The UAB ILD Program utilizes a patient-centered and multidisciplinary model. The team, which includes 4 physicians, a nurse manager and 3 research coordinators, are completely dedicated and focused on individual patients. The program includes collaborations, and besides providing excellent clinical care to the patients, it also offers them the possibility to access new therapies and education provided directly from the best pulmonologists.
Gregory P. Cosgrove from the PFF noted: “As the leading advocate for the pulmonary fibrosis community, we are dedicated to advancing the care of people living with this deadly disease, and this starts with providing greater access to experienced care teams. Working together, institutions within the network will identify and share best practices, which foster better care and ultimately enable more institutions that embrace these practices to be certified as PFF Care Center sites.”
A peer review panel was also included in the selection process. Kevin Flaherty explained: “When selecting sites to add to the PFF Care Center Network, we consider a center’s specific programs and its geographic location in order to best serve the needs of the broader pulmonary fibrosis community. The new centers selected provide the highest-quality patient care and an individualized approach to treatment in accordance with best evidence-based recommendations. We welcome these new centers and look forward to continuing to expand the network in the coming year.”