Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Research Project

The Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation has partnered with the University Health Network’s Interstitial Lung Diseases Clinic at Toronto General Hospital to support their Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease research project. This initiative shows great promise to better understand Pulmonary Fibrosis and we are proud and honored to support an initiative which we believe offers great hope in identifying treatment for this deadly disease.

It is with your generous support the Foundation was able to present Dr. Shane Shapera, MD, FRCPC and Dr. Ted Marras, BSC, MD, MSC, FRCPC with a $52,000 research grant to fund this amazing study.

Please find information on the Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease research project below:

Background: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

IPF effects between 70-80 / 100,000 people and incidence in people over 75 years old may be up to 250 / 100,000. The cause of this devastating disease remains unknown and this disease is relentlessly progressive with a median survival of 3 years after diagnosis. Unfortunately, traditional therapies do not consistently influence progression of the disease and have many side effects. Currently, lung transplant is the only intervention known to improve survival in IPF.

Background: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is abnormal movement of stomach contents into the esophagus. This “refluxate” is very acidic and contains digestive enzymes.



Background: IPF and GERD

Pulmonary fibrosis was triggered by the insertion of acid into the lungs in animal models, suggesting a relationship between IPF and GERD. Research also indicates GERD is common in IPF:

  • May occur in up to 90% of patients
  • Only 25% of these patients have symptoms

Research Question and Hypothesis

Research Question:
Is there a relationship between abnormal esophageal reflux, GERD symptoms, GERD treatment and progression of IPF?

In a large, population of patients with IPF, GERD will be common and that treatment of GERD will lead to stabilization or improvement in lung function in some patients.

Study Design:

Observational study

All patients will be assessed for GERD

  • Symptoms (questionnaires)
  • 24-hour esophageal monitoring

Patients with symptoms or abnormal esophageal testing will be offered treatment

Study Impact:

Direct patient benefits

  • Standardized approach to assessment of GERD to look for and treat “silent” reflux

Scientific benefits

  • First large-scale study examining the relationship between IPF and GERD
  • Future large-scale trials of GERD therapy in IPF


For further information on this study, please contact the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

Together we will find a cure.