A Vanderbilt University team will study whether adding a commonly used antiviral medicine to standard treatments for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis can help stop or reverse the disease’s progress.

IPF is a lung disease that primarily affects middle-aged and older men. Its hallmark is lung fibrosis — or tissue hardening and scarring — that leads to breathing difficulties. There is no cure for it.

“Patients with IPF often become progressively more disabled by their lung disease, and on average, they have worse survival than patients with metastatic breast or colon cancer,” Dr. Jonathan Kropski, a Vanderbilt medical professor who is the study’s lead investigator, said in a press release.