Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered that the drug triciribine may reverse or halt the progression of pulmonary fibrosis (image) and pulmonary hypertension, two respiratory diseases that are almost invariably fatal. The scientitst published their findings online on May 29, 2015 in the British Journal of Pharmacology. The article is titled “Akt Inhibitor, Triciribine, Ameliorates Chronic Hypoxia-Induced Vascular Pruning and TGFβ-Induced Pulmonary fFbrosis.” Pulmonary fibrosis occurs when lung tissue becomes scarred, leading to loss of lung function and reduced oxygen supply to the blood. Pulmonary hypertension involves an increase of blood pressure in the arteries of the lung that can lead to heart failure. Although no definitive cause for the disease has been identified, pulmonary fibrosis affects nearly 130,000 people in the U.S., with about 48,000 new cases diagnosed annually, according to the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. Pulmonary hypertension is rare--with only about 15 to 50 cases per million people--but the total number of deaths attributed to the disease increased by more than 40 percent in the U.S. between 1980 and 2002, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The average life expectancy for people with these diseases is only about five years after diagnosis, and while the drug treatments we currently have may help improve quality of life, they don't reduce mortality," said Dr. Somanath Shenoy, co-author of the paper and associate professor in UGA's College of Pharmacy.
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