The French Referral Center on Pulmonary Hypertension. – An interview with Prof. Marc Humbert professor of Pneumology at the South Paris University and member of the WSPHA Scientific Board

Professor Humbert, please introduce yourself.

My name is Marc Humbert I’m a professor of Pneumology at the South Paris University and I am the Director of the French Referral Center on Pulmonary Hypertension.

What, in your opinion, is the road to find a cure for Pulmonary Hypertension?

Pulmonary Hypertension is very diverse, you have many causes, you have many mechanisms leading to Pulmonary Hypertension. In the last 25 years we have made outstanding improvements and achievements in the field, however, there is a lot to do right now. Currently we have very good drugs and very good approaches to treat either Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension or Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension but we have other causes which are less easy to treat or to prevent and also in those conditions in which we have many drugs we have more discoveries to do, we can identify new pathways and we could maybe in the future find a cure for all causes of Pulmonary Hypertension and this is I think my ambition and this is the ambition of the World Symposia on Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

How did you develop an interest in this particular disease, and how did that affect your career?

I started as a resident at the South Paris University in pneumology and I worked a lot on first clinical studies. I was lucky enough to work with Professor Simonneau when he was a young professor at the university and I was very very interested and impressed by his work on Pulmonary Hypertension and I was interested by the diversity of the patients we could see and the impact of the new treatments we are proposing to these patients who had a very very bad condition so I joined the INSERM laboratory. INSERM means NIH if you wish, something which is very basic but also translational. I worked a lot on inflammation in Pulmonary Hypertension and also on genetics and finally, I worked also a lot on the mechanism leading to Pulmonary Hypertension. After that I went to London in the United Kingdom at the Imperial College and I did a postdoc on immunopathology and when I came back to Paris I was quite well trained to build a new laboratory and the laboratory is entirely devoted to Pulmonary Hypertension research on both pathophysiology and innovative therapies. Since then we have been able to build the French referral center with a network of 25 centers throughout the country and this has been very important.

What will the WSPH Association change in the Pulmonary Hypertension world?

The World Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension is extremely important, however, it comes only every five years and the Task Forces work a lot but they don’t meet regularly between the two World Symposia and, as you understand, it is every five years. So I think the association is extremely important because it will allow regular meetings and regular discussion and regular updates. It will be also very important to identify the key questions and maybe have actions to answer some of these questions. So this association is a very good initiative and I support it very much, I’m very proud to be part of it and I would like to emphasize that it is a very timely initiative.