Swiss researchers have identified a potential blood biomarker for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis — a precursor to the signaling molecule lysophosphatidic acid.

Their study, ”Serum metabolic profiling identified a distinct metabolic signature in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis – a potential biomarker role for LysoPC,” was published in the journal Respiratory Research.

The diagnosis of IPF normally requires high-resolution computed tomography and, if necessary, a bronchoscopy and lung biopsy. A bronchoscopy involves a doctor inserting a tube with a small camera in the lungs to view their condition. A lung biopsy involves examining tissue taken from the lungs.

Both bronchoscopy and biopsy are invasive approaches that may represent a risk for respiratory-impaired patients, and they are not always feasible to perform.