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New study aims to find primary drivers of pulmonary fibrosis in at-risk patient population


Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are conducting a study designed to identify the early factors of pulmonary fibrosis in a population of patients at risk. Funding for research, which could help predict early disease at the cellular level and eventually lead to the development of new therapies, is provided by the Three Lakes Foundation.

Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a rare disease that causes scarring of lung tissue. Each year, 40,000 to 50,000 people are diagnosed with PF in the United States and 40,000 die from the disease each year. Currently, there are no therapies available for FP.

To develop transformative therapies, it is essential to understand what triggers the disease and what causes the disease to progress. To do this, research must focus on the earliest aspect of the disease – before people develop symptoms and before it can be detected on x-rays or CT scans of the lungs.. “

Jonathan Kropski, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr Kropski will oversee study operations, analysis and inter-site coordination with Nicholas Banovich, Ph.D., associate professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a City of Hope affiliate and genomics institute. leading. Dr Banovich, who is an expert in human genetics, genomics and single-cell biology, will oversee the analysis of lung tissue samples.

The research team will use a state-of-the-art platform to sequence single-cell tissues taken from people with a family history of pulmonary fibrosis. This unique lung tissue contains biological samples from pre-symptomatic individuals and provides an unprecedented opportunity to study the onset of early interstitial lung disease.

“This study expands our work on established diseases,” said Cheryl Nickerson-Nutter, Ph.D., vice president of research and development at the Three Lakes Foundation. “We believe this will provide essential clues as to how FP develops and ultimately lead to the discovery of new therapies capable of stopping and reversing the progression of the disease.”

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