Past achievements and future directions of sarcoidosis research: A NHLBI perspective

Hebert Y. Reynolds, Hannah H. Peavy, Dorothy B. Gail, James P. Kiley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This history of research on sarcoidosis is largely from the perspective of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Insititutes of Health which has had an interest in this disease since the inception of the Lung Program in 1969. Background: Cutaneous sarcoidosis was described over 130 years ago and, subsequently, many reports have documented this illness affecting many organs or body sites. But a definitive cause has remained elusive. Multiple research stimuli converged in the early 1970s to begin an era of active investigation into the immunopathogensis of this granulomatous disease that included: new insights into host cellular immunity and lymphocytes; program analysis of lung research in 1971-72; new technology, especially the fiberoptic bronchoscope; and a focus by the NIH Intramural Pulmonary Branch to conduct research on interstitial lung diseases begun in 1974. During the mid 1970-80s, research into lung cellular immunity of sarcoidosis patients developed rapidly at NIH and at many other centers across the US, England, Europe, and Asia. Present and Future Directions: NHLBI has continued active support of research in sarcoidosis, both basic and clinical, such as the A Case Control Etiologic Study of Sarcoidosis (ACCESS) program, 1995-2003, whose conclusions are continuing to be published. A workshop on "Future Directions in Sarcoidosis Research" provided new research ideas to explore basic immunity mechanisms in human sarcoidosis tissue and search for latent microbial agents in tissue. The organization of sarcoidosis patient support groups has heightened awareness of the need for research on multiple organs affected by the disease in addition to the respiratory tract. In response, a trans-NIH sarcoidosis working group has been formed to assess this need and to better coordinate NIH research efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalSarcoidosis Vasculitis and Diffuse Lung Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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