WSPHA and and disease-modifying medications for PH – An interview with Prof. Ardeshir Ghofrani, Professor of Pulmonary Vascular Medicine at the University of Giessen and member of the WSPHA Scientific Board

Professor Ghofrani, please introduce yourself.

My name is Ardeshir Ghofrani, I am a professor of pulmonary vascular medicine at the University of Giessen, I am also the director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Unit at the University Hospital in Giessen and I direct the Department of Pulmonology at the  Kerckhoff Clinic in Bad Nauheim.


When and why did your interest in Pulmonary Hypertension first arise?

Well, my interest in Pulmonary Hypertension was raised during my scientific work as a doctoral fellow in a large research group. We first focused on acute pulmonary diseases that went along with Pulmonary Hypertension such as acute lung failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome, and from there we focused more and more on chronic Pulmonary Hypertension and had a very early interest in the development of novel therapies to treat chronic Pulmonary Hypertension.

Who are the people that inspired your career?

My career was inspired by my then two mentors and now colleagues,, Friedrich Grimminger and Werner Seeger, both of whom direct the Giessen long research group, and also by my two dear colleagues and friends Ralph Schermuly and Norbert Weissmann. They’re very well known in the PH research community and still inspire the young people from my clinical team at the Giessen Pulmonary Hypertension center. So as always in a productive group, it’s a team effort and people cross-fertilize each other.

What do you believe is the most important goal of the WSPH Association?

Well, I believe that the World Symposia on Pulmonary Hypertension Association is a very interesting Association as it bridges the five year time interval between the World Symposia, during which a lot of new and exciting developments occur.. Also it helps preparing the upcoming meetings with gathering all the new accumulating evidence and trying to implement this into the new transcripts of the World Symposia and keeps those interested better updated .So I think the WSPH Association helping to bridge this gap between the two World Symposia with useful scientific work is a very good mission of this association.

In your opinion, what will be the next major breakthrough in the Pulmonary Hypertension world?

I believe that the next big thing in Pulmonary Hypertension will be the introduction of more disease-modifying medications. Most of the medications we currently use are symptomatic treatments and with the advent of novel agents that tackle complementary pathways that have not yet been addressed by the established treatments. I believe that we will see disease-modifying drugs but as most of them also come with more side-effects or potentially with more side effects, we also need to use the novel tools of precision medicine to identify patients that will most likely have a good response to those treatments in whom the risk-benefit ratio, is more on the benefit side, so we could also accept a slightly higher level of risk.