Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Scientists discover experimental drug that protects from fibrosis of the liver, lung and kidneys.

As a lung transplant recipient who was in end-stage respiratory failure due to pulmonary fibrosis this story caught my immediate attention. IPF, or Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, is one of he major causes of the need for lung transplants and a medical breakthrough such as this has the potential to save thousands of lives around the world.


Edinburgh scientists lead pioneering research with scar tissue to help cut organ transplants

A discovery about how tissues scar could help cut the number of patients needing organ transplants, scientists have said.
New drugs could be developed to treat fibrotic diseases that attack organs such as the liver, lung or kidneys, a study published in Nature Medicine suggests.
Experts have discovered that a molecule on certain specialised cells known as myofibroblasts acts as a "switch", regulating the production of scar tissue.
The team studied specially bred mice with fibrosis and found that removing the molecule - called alpha v integrin - from the cells protected the animals from fibrosis of the liver, lung and kidneys.
They also discovered that when the mice were treated with a new experimental drug designed to block the molecule, they were protected from liver and lung fibrosis.
Dr Neil Henderson, a Wellcome Trust clinical scientist and consultant hepatologist at the University of Edinburgh/Medical Research Council Centre for Inflammation Research, said: "When tissue scarring becomes severe, affected organs do not work properly and currently the only treatment for end-stage organ failure is transplantation.
"However the shortage of donor organs means that many patients die while waiting for surgery.
"Therefore, the development of new therapies to treat fibrosis and reduce the need for organ transplantation would potentially be a major step forward in the treatment of patients with these devastating diseases."
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