Genetic variations account for approximately one-third of the risk of developing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), according to scientists at the University of Colorado.

The team identified seven novel genetic risk loci that include genes involved in host defense, cell-cell adhesion, and DNA repair. The study is the first study to map out genes associated with IPF risk on a genome-wide scale, according to researchers. 

“The insightful leadership … and active participation of many ensured the success of this research and, in aggregate, we have established the scientific basis for early recognition and have identified novel therapeutic targets for this untreatable disease,” said David A. Schwartz, MD, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and senior author of the study.

“These findings will change the way we think about pulmonary fibrosis and should eventually enhance the diagnostic and therapeutic options for our patients.”