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Leicester and Nottingham scientists discover new gene associated with debilitating lung disease

Health scientists at the University of Leicester and University of Nottingham have heralded the discovery of a gene associated with lung fibrosis as ‘a potential new avenue of treatment for further research into this terrible disease.’ The breakthrough is announced in a paper published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Researchers Professor Louise Wain from the University of Leicester and Professor Gisli Jenkins from the University of Nottingham were lead authors of the study.  They analysed the DNA from over 2700 people with IPF and 8500 people without IPF from around the world and found that people with IPF are more likely to have changes in a gene called AKAP13.

The work was led by researchers at Leicester and Nottingham and brought together collaborators from around the world to form the largest combined analysis of people with IPF undertaken to date. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a debilitating lung disease, affecting ~6,000 new people each year, where scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs makes it difficult to breathe.

Professor Wain, GSK/British Lung Foundation Chair in Respiratory Research at the University of Leicester, said: “We urgently need new ways to treat this terrible disease. Our findings highlight a potential new avenue for treatment and we now need more research to identify why this gene is important in IPF and how we can use that information to identify new therapies.”

Press release

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