New treatment options for lung fibrosis are being developed by Purdue University scientists. People with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) have a life expectancy of less than five years. Fibrotic diseases cause organ failure that lead to about 45% of all deaths in the United States. Lung fibrosis has been a concern for COVID-19 patients. Existing therapies do little to slow progression. Now, Philip S. Low, (https://www.chem.purdue.edu/people/profile/plow), PhD, the Purdue Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery, has led a team to develop two targeted therapies for people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The two different therapeutic approaches are published in the October 28, 2020 issue of Science Translational Medicine (“Targeted Inhibition of PI3 Kinase/mTOR Specifically in Fibrotic Lung Fibroblasts Suppresses Pulmonary Fibrosis in Experimental Models”) and online on June 29, 2020 in EMBO Molecular Medicine (“Reprogramming of Profibrotic Macrophages for Treatment of Bleomycin‐Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis”). "This is a horrible disease that claimed the lives of my next-door neighbor and a good friend's wife," Dr. Low said. "We developed two targeted therapies that allow us to use powerful drugs with high toxicities because we specifically deliver them to diseased cells without harming healthy ones." The first of the Purdue team's novel targeted molecules is designed to slow fibrosis and extend life. The second IPF therapy suppresses fibrosis-inducing cytokine production. The two therapies will be moving into human clinical trials within the next several months. The developments come as a number of people with COVID-19 or who have recovered from COVID-19 experience lung fibrosis or other related conditions.
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