Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New Approach for Treating Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis


Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München, in collaboration with an international team, have identified a potential novel drug target for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a dangerous chronic lung disease. They elucidated a new mechanism of fibrosis formation that plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease. These findings have now been published in the leading scientific journal American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic lung disease for which as yet no causal therapy exists. It is, however, known that the lung interstitium – the connective tissue between the air sacs in the lower part of the lung – is affected.

Foto: Staab-Weijnitz, Eickelberg

Copyright: HMGU

There scar tissue consisting mainly of collagen accumulates, thus reducing lung elasticity and gradually impairing lung function. Patients with IPF have an extremely poor prognosis; on average they survive only two or three years after the diagnosis has been made.

Analysis of patient data

Prof. Dr. Oliver Eickelberg and Dr. Claudia Staab-Weijnitz of the Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC) at Helmholtz Zentrum München and their colleagues at LMU University Hospital in Munich and Yale University School of Medicine have now discovered a new therapeutic target for IPF.

The main focus of their research was to identify causative mechanisms involved in the disease. The researchers analyzed microarray data of samples from German patients and from an IPF cohort of the Lung Tissue Research Consortium in the U.S.

The analysis revealed elevated levels of the protein FKBP10 in the lungs of IPF patients. 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. “In the future, these results could also lead to new therapeutic options for the treatment of other fibrotic** diseases.”

New ways to understand the disease cause

Eickelberg has made the study of IPF one of his key priority research areas. Together with his team of researchers, he is studying the pathogenic mechanisms with the aim to develop causal therapies – and thus one day to actually cure IPF. In the short term, however, the main focus is on delaying the progression of the disease and alleviating the symptoms.

“My foremost objective is to help develop an effective treatment that will completely halt the progression of IPF in the patient,” said Eickelberg. “These approaches are best developed in international networks. This cooperative project is a direct result of the research stay of Professor Kaminski (Yale) at the CPC through the support of a Helmholtz International Fellow Award (HIFA).”

“With our translational approach,” said Eickelberg, “we want to help alleviate the suffering of patients with lung disease.” In the case of IPF, the researchers now want to establish a drug screening assay and begin clinical trials with an FKBP10 inhibitor, an agent to inhibit the production or activity of the FKBP10 protein.

Further Information:


*Fibroblasts: Fibroblasts are motile cells that are present in connective tissue. They play an important role in the synthesis of the extracellular matrix, the connective tissue between the cells. The products of fibroblasts primarily include collagen as well as proteoglycans, which strengthen the extracellular matrix.
**Fibrotic diseases are accompanied by an excessive proliferation of connective tissue.

Original publication:

Staab-Weijnitz C. A. et al. (2015). FK506-Binding Protein 10 is a Potential Novel Drug Target for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine [Epub ahead of print]

As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,300 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members.

The Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC) is a joint research project of the Helmholtz Zentrum München, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Clinic Complex and the Asklepios Fachkliniken München-Gauting. The CPC's objective is to conduct research on chronic lung diseases in order to develop new diagnosis and therapy strategies. The CPC maintains a focus on experimental pneumology with the investigation of cellular, molecular and immunological mechanisms involved in lung diseases. The CPC is a site of the Deutsches Zentrum für Lungenforschung (DZL).

Contact for the media
Department of Communication, Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH), Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg - Phone: +49-(0)89-3187-2238 - Fax: +49 89-3187-3324 - Email:

Scientific contact at Helmholtz Zentrum München:
Professor Oliver Eickelberg, Helmholtz Zentrum München Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH), Institut für Lungenbiologie, Comprehensive Pneumology Center - Phone: +49-89-3187-4666 – Email:
Location Neuherberg: Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg,
Location Großhadern: Max-Lebsche-Platz 31, 81377 München

Weitere Informationen: - Link to the Original Publication - Website Helmholtz Zentrum München - Website Institute of Lung Biology and Disease

Helmholtz Kommunikation | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein
22.03.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>