New Study Aimed at Uncovering Clues to PF Origins

Yedida Y Bogachkov PhD avatar

by Yedida Y Bogachkov PhD |

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Note: This story was updated Oct. 22, 2021, to correct information about the study that was wrongly identified as a different clinical trial.

A new study is hoping to identify early drivers of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) in individuals with a family history of PF, with the goal of better understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie the disease and its progression.

Its goal is to investigate genetic factors that might play a role in the development of familial PF.

“To develop transformative therapies, it is essential to understand what initiates the disease and what drives progression of the disease,” Jonathan Kropski, MD, an assistant professor with a specialty in rare lung diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, which is leading the study, said in a press release.

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“To do this, research must focus on the very earliest aspect of the disease — before people develop symptoms and before it can be detected on X-rays or CT scans of the lung,” added Kropski, who is a primary investigator for the study.

In the study, researchers will sequence single-cell tissue collected from people with a family disease history. Lung tissue samples will allow the researchers to investigate the earliest stages of the disease at the cell level, and potentially identify genes that predispose individuals to PF.

Kropski will be in charge of study operations, analysis, and coordination among its research sites. Nicholas Banovich, PhD, an associate professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, a nonprofit medical research center, will oversee genetic analysis of the lung tissue samples. Banovich specializes in human genetics, genomics, and single-cell biology.

The research is being funded by the Three Lakes Foundation, a nonprofit working to bring research, philanthropy, and industry together to improve time to diagnosis and available therapies for PF.

“This study expands our work in established disease. We believe it will provide critical clues in how PF develops and ultimately lead to discovery of new therapies capable of stopping and reversing disease progression,” said Cheryl Nickerson-Nutter, PhD, vice president of research and development at Three Lakes Foundation.

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