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ATS Foundation Research Grant for Darcy Wagner

Darcy E. Wagner, member of the Research Unit "Lung Repair and Regeneration"(LRR) at the CPC and participant in the Helmholtz Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme has been awarded a grant endowed with 40.000 Dollars from the ATS Foundation. The grant aims to identify novel routes to induce lung repair in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a devastating disease with no cure. While a number of different cell signaling pathways have been identified as being critical to disease onset and progression, translation of these findings to the clinic has been slow. This is, in part, due to the fact that the cellular pathways which have been identified interact with a large number of other pathways. Therefore, broad inhibition of pathways known to be active in IPF has the potential for adverse side effects. Further understanding where these pathways converge and identifying new potential targets may offer new and more effective therapeutic strategies for patients. Dr. Wagner and her colleagues will explore the Hippo pathway and its potential role in IPF. The Hippo pathway is a developmental pathway critical for regulating organ size and stem cell behavior. They will explore the role of the Hippo pathway in the development of IPF and explore the effects of pharmaceutically targeting the pathway. The LRR team has developed new ways to model IPF in human tissue and will test the ability of these new compounds to reverse or slow the progression of the disease in the lab. Establishing a role for Hippo signaling in IPF may offer new opportunities for novel therapies. As there is already an FDA approved drug capable of inhibiting components of the Hippo pathway, establishing a role for Hippo in IPF could quickly lead to new therapies in the clinic.

For further information see: foundation.thoracic.org/what-we-do/2016-research-awardees.php