February 2, 2021
Three Lakes Foundation and Mayo Clinic collaboration will allow an increase in awareness of pulmonary fibrosis symptoms; improve an understanding of the current diagnostic journey, and develop a remote diagnostic tool that connects patients with appropriate healthcare resources at an earlier and more treatable phase of their illness.
“Our collaboration with Mayo Clinic is critical,” said Dana Ball, executive director of Three Lakes Foundation. “Finding symptomatic individuals and improving time to diagnosis will provide the opportunity to intervene earlier in the diagnostic process, leading to preservation of health and earlier treatment of lung fibrosis.”
Pulmonary Fibrosis is a progressive and fatal lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. As the condition worsens, patients have difficulty breathing and ultimately needing supplemental oxygen to live. PF can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to other conditions, such as allergies, bronchitis, asthma and even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). By the time most patients receive an accurate diagnosis, their lung capacity has already deteriorated significantly. Each year, approximately 40,000 people die from Pulmonary Fibrosis.
The research initiative will be led by Andrew Limper, MD, who is associate dean of practice transformation and Annenberg professor of pulmonary medicine at the Mayo Clinic.
According to Dr. Limper, the research will address three objectives:
- To improve current time to diagnosis and identify the barriers that lead to accurate diagnoses by leveraging Mayo Clinic’s rich clinical data
- Use artificial intelligence and data analytics to further define the Pulmonary Fibrosis diagnostic journey, the prevalence of misdiagnoses, and clinical clues to PF
- Synthesize above data points to develop a prototype for remote diagnosis
“There are currently two FDA-approved therapies for PF that slow disease progression,” said Cheryl Nutter-Nickerson, VP of research and development for Three Lakes Foundation. “Additionally, there are currently more than 30 ongoing clinical trials for Pulmonary Fibrosis. The path to stopping disease progression and preserving quality of life may be closer than we think. Being able to diagnose Pulmonary Fibrosis early has never been more important.”