The ILD team at Royal Papworth Hospital is made up of expert consultants, surgeons, nurses, radiologists, pathologists and other professionals.
The service is led by Dr Muhunthan Thillai.
Dr Thillai is the Lead Clinician for the Cambridge ILD unit based at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge.
He runs a busy clinical service and is responsible for outpatients, inpatient care and bronchoscopy. He has a special interest in both IPF and sarcoidosis and has written research papers and book chapters on these conditions.
He has given lectures in ILD at several international conferences and oversees a number of research projects including those funded by the British Lung Foundation. He has a PhD in Immunology from Imperial College London and is the editor of the current clinical handbook of ILD, the premier international clinical book for these diseases.
I did my research in one of the ILDs (sarcoidosis) under the guidance of specialists at Imperial College London and found it a very interesting disease. Although we discovered it more than a century ago we still do not know what causes it, find it hard to diagnose and even harder to treat. One of my professors told me that if I ended up specialising in ILD I would never have a dull career and he was absolutely right. ILD covers acute and chronic diseases, lung transplants and palliative care and for me it represents the best part of respiratory medicine - even if my colleagues in other departments at Royal Papworth would disagree!
Giving patients hope. ILDs are complex diseases and patients can be mis-diagnosed or poorly managed before they come to us. This is not anyone’s fault but simply because the conditions are so difficult to diagnose and treat and we are all learning more about them all the time. Luckily we have the expertise and a fantastic team to give our patients the best management we can, and hopefully give them some hope as we start to treat their diseases.
Dr Helen Parfrey is a chest physician for the Cambridge Interstitial Lung Disease Unit. After qualifying in medicine from the University of Oxford, she completed her training in Respiratory medicine in Cambridge. She was awarded an MRC Clinical Training fellowship for structural biology studies on the polymerization of alpha1-antitrysin leading to her PhD at University of Cambridge.
She has clinical and translational research interests in the role of innate immunity and infection in pulmonary fibrosis.
Dr Parfrey is a strong supporter of patient advocacy having established the Pulmonary Fibrosis Patient Support Group at Royal Papworth Hospital. She was involved with the BLF IPF patient charter, and is a trustee for the charity Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Dr Nicky Simler graduated from Manchester Medical School in 1993. She completed an MD Thesis whilst working in the Interstitial Lung Disease service at Wythenshawe Hospital investigating the role of pro-angiogenic cytokines in interstitial pneumonia.
She completed her higher respiratory training in North West Thames with experience in the Royal Brompton Interstitial Lung Disease service before taking up her consultant role in Hinchingbrooke and Royal Papworth Hospitals in 2006.
She has an interest in Clinical Trials and is currently the Respiratory Specialty Lead for the Eastern Clinical Research Network. She is also the Training Programme Director for Respiratory Medicine in the East of England.
Dr Christine Fiddler completed her medical training at the University of Edinburgh. She commenced her postgraduate training in Respiratory Medicine in Edinburgh and New Zealand before moving to the East of England deanery where she obtained her CCT in General and Respiratory Medicine.
She was awarded an MRC Clinical Training Fellowship to study neutrophil biology and this lead to her being awarded a PhD from the University of Cambridge. She completed an ILD fellowship at Royal Papworth Hospital and now works as a locum consultant for the ILD services at Addenbrooke’s and Royal Papworth Hospitals.
Emma Harris is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and the most senior ILD specialist nurse in the East of England. She sees patients independently in outpatient clinics and is an independent prescriber. As part of her role she runs telephone clinics to speak to patients who have started new medications for ILD.