There is a need for further large-scale epidemiological studies of ILDs and for clinical, basic and genetic research in ILD. Although knowledge of individual genetic susceptibility to the different ILDs and of the pathogenetic effects of exogenous agents has increased greatly, there is still much to learn. Furthermore, drug treatment of most ILDs remains unsatisfactory, although in recent years much research and several clinical trials have been carried out, particularly for IPF.
ILDs are an increasing burden on healthcare resources and many remain under the ‘orphan disease’ heading. In order to improve the efficiency of diagnostic and therapeutic management of ILD, it is necessary to plan strategically for the future with the help of a more intensive approach by national health authorities.
It is also the task of the medical profession to minimise the occurrence of iatrogenic ILDs; any such cases should be registered and communicated, for example via the Pneumotox website. In addition, guidelines are required for prevention, early detection and treatment of drug-induced ILDs.