Rare Disease Report

The 6 Minute Marathon

JUNE 23, 2016
James Radke, PhD
This weekend, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patient Jim Gillies will participate in a 6-minute marathon. 
The marathon is a play on words of the standard 6-minute walk test that is common in respiratory and neuromuscular assessments. For people with lung or muscle diseases, the 6 minute walk test is a valuable tool to measure a patient’s strength and/or endurance over time.
Unfortunately for some patients, such as those with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the idea of being able to walk for 6 minutes is like running a marathon.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is a chronic, progressive fibrosing interstitial pneumonia that does not have a clear cause. In most cases, the disease is fatal within 2-3 years of initial symptoms and treatment options are limited. Current treatments (until recently) included oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and lung transplant. In 2014, two drugs were approved for treatment of IPF, Olev and Esbriet.
Patients living with IPF are participating in a number of "6-minute marathon" to raise awareness of this rare, but fatal lung disease. This Saturday, IPF patient Jim Gillies will participate in his own 6-minute marathon in downtown Toronto – at 7:30 am at University Ave., between Dundas and Queen in Toronto, Canada.

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