This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Research Topic: Interstitial Lung Disease/Pulmonary Fibrosis

Interstitial lung disease is a group of disorders, including pulmonary fibrosis, that cause scarring of the lung. The disease eventually affects a person’s ability to breathe and get enough oxygen into the bloodstream. It can be caused by long-term exposure to dangerous materials such as asbestos. In most cases, the cause is not known. Once lung scarring occurs, it usually cannot be reversed.

About 140,000 Americans have been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Fewer than 50 percent of patients survive five years. While treatment may slow the worsening of the disease in some people, there is no cure.

Pulmonary fibrosis can lead to other medical problems, including collapsed lung, lung infections, blood clots in the lungs and lung cancer. As the disease gets worse, it can lead to respiratory failure, pulmonary hypertension and heart failure. A person with pulmonary fibrosis may need supplemental oxygen to help with breathing.

The American Lung Association supports an array of investigations into the basic cellular and molecular processes that underlie interstitial lung disease. Our researchers are using a wide variety of tools to better understand the mechanisms of interstitial lung diseases, including cutting-edge genomic technology. This research will identify new targets for therapy, which will extend and improve the lives of people with pulmonary fibrosis and other types of interstitial lung disease.

    Page Last Updated: December 17, 2018

    Red button with telephone
    Ask An Expert

    Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

    Get help
    Red button of two hand prints
    We need your generous support

    Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

    Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl
    What is LUNG FORCE?

    LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

    Get involved
    Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
    Donate Now.