PHA Proof of Concept Research Grant Winner 2012

Yen-Rei Yu, MD, PhD

Yen-Rei Yu, MD, PhD

Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine, Durham
Title: “The Role of Resident Monocytes in the Pathogenesis of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension”
Term: January 15, 2013 through January 14, 2014

Summary of Research Project:

Despite recent advances in therapy, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) still causes significant impairment in quality of life and mortality. Identification of new strategies that prevent or treat the disease are needed. Inflammation is a prominent feature of PAH, but little is known about the exact immune cell types and their roles in PAH development and progression.

Resident monocytes are present in tissue under normal state and are thought to be important for monitoring the health of the blood vessels and tissue. They play an important role in the repair of injured tissue. We expect that they have a significant role in PAH development but their functions have not been examined directly. Since little is known about the role of monocytes in PAH disease process, additional insights are needed prior to development of safe and effective monocyte-directed therapy.

In other diseases, such as cancer, researchers are accessing the benefits of therapies that target monocytes, a type of immune cells. Similar strategies may be applied to improve the quality of life or reduce mortality in PAH patients. We have proposed to examine the role of monocytes in PAH with a long term goal of defining key regulatory factors and aid in designing monocyte-directed therapeutic strategies. Not only will the proposed studies advance our understanding of monocytes; more importantly, they will advance our insights into PAH disease process and contribute to making monocyte-directed therapy a reality.