Program Goals

Program Goals

Because of its multidisciplinary nature; its strong clinical, educational, and research components; the Puerto Rico Center for Pulmonary Fibrosis will serve as a template for the development of other programs of excellence at the Mayagüez Medical Center, and will continue to serve patients and the community in general with the goal of sustaining health while eradicating pulmonary disease.

As seen in other countries, many Puerto Ricans are afflicted by pulmonary fibrosis of unknown etiology or caused by environmental or genetic factors. Yet, currently, Puerto Rico lacks the infrastructure to address this problem in a comprehensive fashion.

Of these diseases, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis or IPF is perhaps the most common. This disorder causes scarring of the lung leading to tissue destruction and loss of lung function. These changes result in shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, and, often, progression to death. Dr. Roman and many others around the world worked to identify new treatment options and after many years of searching, two new FDA-approved treatments recently emerged.

Another cause of pulmonary fibrosis is the Hermansky Pudlak Syndrome (HPS), a genetic disease associated with albinism and bleeding that is most frequent in the island. Expert geneticists and center co-founders Dr. Sanchez Cornier and Dr. Simon Carlo have unveiled important information about the genes involved in the development of this syndrome. In a study by Dr. Yeidyly Vergne-Martinez, a researcher at the Ponce School of Medicine, this group has mapped the prevalence of pulmonary fibrosis in Puerto Rico and has joined forces to advance care of pulmonary fibrosis in the PR-CPF.

Because many forms of pulmonary fibrosis are of unknown etiology and available treatments are suboptimal, the PR-CPF will house a state-of-the art clinical and basic research program devoted to advancing knowledge regarding the usefulness of experimental drugs, the mechanisms that lead to lung inflammation and fibrosis, the genes that promote pulmonary fibrosis, and the development of novel animal models of lung disease that can serve to advance understanding in this field.

This program will provide patients with access to multiple clinical trials in pulmonary fibrosis, while searching for a cure.