Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München have identified a potential novel drug target for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis after discovering a new mechanism of fibrosis formation that plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease.

According to findings published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, an analysis of IPF patients  revealed elevated levels of the protein FKBP10 in the lungs.

The researchers hypothesized that if the production or activity of the protein could be inhibited, this might lead to a new therapeutic approach. Further experiments confirmed that knockdown of this protein in IPF fibroblasts diminished the collagen synthesis.

“Thus, FKBP10 represents a potential new target molecule for the individualized therapy of IPF,” said Claudia Staab-Weijnitz of the Comprehensive Pneumology Center at Helmholtz Zentrum München. “In the future, these results could also lead to new therapeutic options for the treatment of other fibrotic diseases.”