VAS-2870 is an inhibitor of the enzyme system NADPH oxidase (NOX). It is a small-molecule drug that may be used to combat reactive oxygen species-mediated idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
History of VAS-2870
The role of VAS-2870 in preventing cardiovascular diseases was first investigated in a paper published in 2006 by a group of researchers in Germany: “Novel NOX Inhibitor VAS2870 Attenuates PDGF-dependent Smooth Muscle Cell Chemotaxis, but Not Proliferation.” The study identified how certain growth factors released during injury, namely platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), induce cells to produce reactive oxygen species. The effect is completely abolished when VAS-2870 is applied to cells.
How VAS-2870 Works
Although the theory is somewhat controversial, researchers studying IPF hypothesize that reactive oxygen species accumulation (oxidative stress) plays a role in IPF disease onset and progression. Oxidative stress and inflammation can damage epithelial cells in the lungs, leading to an increase in cell proliferation and fibrosis.
According to the review article, “Targeting NOX Enzymes in Pulmonary Fibrosis,” a key enzyme system that generates reactive oxygen species is NOX. NOX is found in inflammatory cells, mesenchymal cells, epithelial cells, endothelial cells, and smooth muscle cells. When these cells are damaged by oxidative stress, NOX produces reactive oxygen species, further increasing damage to the lungs and promoting fibrosis. Mice that are genetically manipulated to be deficient in NOX are resistant to injury-induced IPF. Since genetic engineering in humans is not yet possible, using NOX inhibitors such as VAS-2870 may help treat IPF.
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