Mehrad awarded $300,000 from American Heart Association to study sarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that can affect almost any organ in the body. It causes a person’s immune system, which normally protects the body from infection, to overreact and damage the body’s own tissues. The most notable feature of the disease is the development of small clusters f cells, called granulomas, in one or more organs of the body. Most often, sarcoidosis affects the lungs and lymph nodes, but it can also affect the heart, resulting in heart failure and death. Unfortunately, the treatments for this disease are potentially dangerous, and it is currently unknown which patients with sarcoidosis of the heart should be treated.
Dr. Borna Mehrad, professor and chief of the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the UF College of Medicine, recently received a $300,000 grant from the American Heart Association to study sarcoidosis. Patients at UF Health with sarcoidosis will be given a blood test to identify if they will develop future scarring, and will have specialized scans to assess whether there is any sarcoidosis-related scarring in their heart. The goal of this research is to develop tests that determine who should be treated and whether the treatment is effective.
“Sarcoidosis affects hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, but relatively little research has been performed in this disease.” said Mehrad. “With the support of this grant, we hope to develop new tests that help patients with sarcoidosis be treated more effectively in the future.”