Pulmonary Hypertension Research

As part of its broader commitment to research on lung diseases, the NHLBI leads and supports research and programs on pulmonary hypertension in the United States and around the world. Research supported by the NHLBI has provided more information about the risk factors, causes, and outcomes of patients who have pulmonary hypertension. Many current studies focus on finding new drug targets and treatment options to relieve symptoms and reverse damage caused by pulmonary hypertension. 

NHLBI research that really made a difference

Current research funded by the NHLBI

Our Division of Lung Diseases and its Lung Biology and Disease Branch oversee much of the research on pulmonary hypertension that we fund.

Current research on treatment of pulmonary hypertension

Research funded by the NHLBI is working to discover new drugs to treat pulmonary hypertension.

  • Enzymes called proteases are activated and contribute to inflammation and vascular damage in people with pulmonary hypertension. Researchers are studying a drug called elafin that blocks these enzymes in the body. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug status to elafin for use in patients with pulmonary hypertension.
  • Despite the condition’s high morbidity and mortality rates, very few studies investigate pulmonary hypertension in children. To address this, the NHLBI funds researchers who collaborate with the Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Network (PPHNet), an association of medical professionals and centers focused on all aspects of pediatric pulmonary hypertension. As a part of this collaboration, scientists are conducting research to develop an effective treatments for pulmonary hypertension in children.

Find more NHLBI-funded studies on pulmonary hypertension treatment at NIH RePORTER.

Current research on pulmonary hypertension in women

Pulmonary hypertension affects women more than it affects men. In fact, being female is the strongest risk factor for pulmonary hypertension that is genetic (runs in families) and idiopathic (has no known cause).

  • Researchers are currently investigating certain types of estrogen metabolites and the role they play in increasing the risk of pulmonary hypertension.
  • A clinical trial for pulmonary hypertension is currently underway to test the safety and effectiveness of anastrozole, an FDA-approved drug currently used to treat breast cancer.

Find more NHLBI-funded studies on pulmonary hypertension in women at the NIH RePORTER.

Current research on the causes of pulmonary hypertension

Improving our understanding of the causes of pulmonary hypertension will help scientists develop tailored treatments for patients.

  • Vascular remodeling causes the blood vessels in the lungs to narrow. This leads to increased pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs, which is a hallmark sign of pulmonary hypertension. The NHLBI funds research that explores different causes of vascular remodeling, including genetic mutations and the roles of ion channels and cell membrane receptors.
  • Other NHLBI-funded research is actively investigating the hormonal and metabolic causes of vascular dysfunction in pulmonary hypertension.

Find more NHLBI-funded studies on the causes of pulmonary hypertension at the NIH RePORTER.

Pulmonary hypertension research labs at the NHLBI

Our Division of Intramural Research is actively engaged in the study of pulmonary hypertension.

Read more about these projects and ongoing clinical trials.

Related pulmonary hypertension programs

Explore more NHLBI research on pulmonary hypertension

The sections above provide you with the highlights of NHLBI-supported research on pulmonary hypertension. You can explore the full list of NHLBI-funded studies on the NIH RePORTER.

To find more studies:

  • Type your search words into the Quick Search box and press enter. 
  • Check Active Projects if you want current research.
  • Select the Agencies arrow, then the NIH arrow, then check NHLBI.

If you want to sort the projects by budget size from the biggest to the smallest click on the FY Total Cost by IC column heading.

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