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Shark-Inspired Drug Could Help Treat Fibrosis

31/01/2017

Shark-Inspired Drug Could Help Treat FibrosisWe recently informed you about how researchers from Cambridge University believe a chemical compound found in dogfish sharks could be used to potentially halt the onset of Parkinson's Disease (here).

Now scientists in Australia hope a drug that mimics part of a shark's immune system could be used to help treat an incurable lung disease in humans.

People with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) - a condition that scars lung tissue - find that their breathing becomes progressively harder and they develop a persistent dry cough. At present, there is no cure for IPF, so treatment focuses on symptom relief and slowing the progression of the disease.

Initial tests with the drug, AD-114, showed that it can successfully kill the cells that cause fibrosis. Researchers hope that human trials with AD-114 can commence as early as next year.

Dr Mick Foley, from the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, was keen to stress that no sharks were harmed during the research, and just a single blood sample was taken from a wobbegong shark at Melbourne Aquarium for the tests.

"It would be very nice to say one day that 'this person is alive because of what the sharks told us,'" Dr Foley said.

IPF is a disease that kills more than 5,000 people in the UK alone every year, according to the British Lung Foundation.
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