Biotechnology primed to fight lung disease

Researchers at the School of Biosciences at Aston University have confirmed the start of a new drug development programme aimed at tackling a major health condition exacerbated by air pollution. 

New medicines will be explored in a partnership between the institution and preclinical  startup Isterian Biotech, with the focus on novel treatments to stop or reverse the accumulation of proteins commonly observed through the human body as we age. 

shallow focus photography of white bottle lot

Overall, it is hoped that this could lead to a breakthrough for those diagnosed with conditions such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and other fibrotic diseases through the development of TG2 inhibitors. These would suppress this crosslinking enzymes which builds up over time, also known as transglutaminase 2, and have a detrimental impact on internal organs, including the lungs. 

Currently, IPF is considered progressive and irreversible, and impacts between 200,000 and 300,000 people across the world, with 6,000 new cases occurring in the UK alone each year. Most patients are men in their 70s, but far younger diagnoses are not unheard of. 

‘Isterian’s strategy of combining rational drug design with efficient multiparametric profiling of synthesized small molecules has been both impressive and highly productive. Notably, for one of our highly potent and selective TG2 inhibitors, we have recently demonstrated efficacy in a mouse model of lung fibrosis for the first time,’ said Isterian President and Chairman of the Board, Georg C Terstappen, PhD. ‘Using this state-of-the-art approach to drug discovery combined with an impressive team gives us great confidence in the future of this novel company.’

Earlier this week, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan issued an air pollution warning spanning several days in a bid to help protect the most vulnerable in the city, including those suffering from chronic lung disease. When air pollution spikes, conditions and symptoms become more pronounced, posing an immediate risk to life.



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