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WHAT WE FUND

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Respiratory diseases

At a glance

Investigation of the epithelial-mesenchymal trophic unit in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Lead researcher

Dr Franco Conforti

Institution

University of Southampton

Status

Completed

Amount awarded

£274,173.00

Last updated

08/01/24

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A fellowship to fill the gap in the understanding of the factors that drive idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Alveolar cells in lungs are important for the breathing process and are injured in IPF. Dr Conforti’s research will look at the interaction between alveolar cells and other lung cells called fibroblasts to determine if alveolar cells can be protected from their damaging effects.

We awarded Dr Franco Conforti from the University of Southampton a fellowship to fill the gap in the understanding of the factors that drive idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Alveolar cells in lungs are important for the breathing process and are injured in IPF. Other cells in lungs, fibroblasts, which are usually responsible for promoting wound healing become abnormal in IPF and produce excess scar tissue.

Fibroblasts are likely to produce mediators that damage the alveolar cells further, but little is known about how these cells interact to cause abnormal wound-healing and exaggerated scarring. Dr Conforti’s research will look at the interaction and try to determine if alveolar cells can be protected from the damaging effects of the fibroblasts.

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Respiratory Disease – Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

  • Why there is a need to fund new research

    Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an incurable rare lung disease. 15,000 people in the UK are living with IPF. The key feature of IPF is the irreversible build-up of dense scar tissue within the air spaces of the lungs, which leads to breathlessness and ultimately respiratory failure. The causes are unknown, and current treatments do not stop the progression of disease, only slow it down.

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