Since the first Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) Conference in 1994, the Research Room at PHA’s International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions has offered a dedicated space for individuals with pulmonary hypertension (PH) and their families to participate in research by leading physicians and scientists. This participation furthers the researchers’ studies through the collection of data at the largest gathering of persons with PH in the world at any given time. On Oct. 12, 2018, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine published a study that used data collected at PHA’s 2008, 2010 and 2012 Conferences, as well as a California PH forum in 2007.
Paul B. Yu, M.D., Ph.D., Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, led a diverse team of researchers from across the U.S. in investigating the deficiency of a protein called bone morphogenic protein 9 (BMP9) as a potential biomarker (something that can be measured in the body that indicates the presence of a disease) for World Health Organization Group 1 PH (pulmonary arterial hypertension, or PAH) specifically in relation to liver disease (called portopulmonary hypertension, PoPH). It is important to identify biomarkers for diseases such as PAH so that they can be detected before symptoms become severe or organ damage can occur.
The researchers found evidence that people with PoPH had lower levels of BMP9 compared to people without PH or liver disease. BMP9 levels also correlated with whether a person with liver disease had PAH or not, and finally also was associated with survival in people with PoPH who have not had a liver transplant.
The work researchers do at PHA’s Research Room continues to make a difference in the field of PH. To learn more, visit PHAssociation.org/Research/PHAResearchRoom.
2018 Conference photos: Kathleen Sheffer