Interstitial Lung Disease

Interstitial Lung Disease

The Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Program is a Program of Excellence within the University of Louisville Department of Medicine Lung Health Initiative.

Led by Dr. Rafael Perez, the program has grown dramatically and is currently staffed by expert physicians and other healthcare providers devoted to outstanding patient care, education, and innovative research.

The program offers a multidisciplinary approach to care with partners from the Departments of Medicine, Surgery, Pathology, and Radiology working together to offer patients and their families the best options that current medicine has to offer.

With its roots in Atlanta, Georgia where Drs. Perez and Jesse Roman, and Ms. Tamra Perez established similar program while working at Emory University, it quickly became a referral base for patients with chronic interstitial lung disorders in the Southeast region, and was a member of the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Network (IPFNET).

In 2009, this team moved to Louisville and established the foundation of what was to become the most comprehensive Interstitial Lung Disease program in the state of Kentucky, and one of the premier programs in the country.

Compassionate care is offered in conjunction with outstanding educational programs delivered through brochures, internet-based tools, quarterly newsletters, and semi-annual patient support groups.

Because many interstitial lung disorders are of unknown etiology and most are incurable, the Interstitial Lung Disease Program has created a state-of-the art clinical and basic research enterprise devoted to advancing knowledge regarding the usefulness of experimental drugs, the mechanisms that lead to lung inflammation and fibrosis, and the development of novel animal models of lung disease that can serve to advance understanding in this field.

This program provides patients with access to multiple clinical trials in lung fibrosis. Novel drugs with much potential are being tested there every day.  In addition, the program has established an innovative bench-related research initiative driven by outstanding scientists testing the function of fibroblasts and their connective tissue matrices, the role of the neural and immune systems, and other mechanisms implicated in lung fibrosing disorders.

Scientists involved in this work include Jesse Roman, Jerry Yu, Igor Zelko, and Jeffrey Ritzenthaler. This work is currently funded by federal sources like the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as wells as industry and private foundations.

Because of its multidisciplinary nature; its strong clinical, educational, and research components; and its unparalleled success, the Interstitial Lung Disease Program is serving as a template for other programs of excellent in the UofL Department of Medicine Lung Health Initiative, and will continue to serve patients, researchers, and the community in general with the main goal of sustaining health while eradicating interstitial lung disease.