Narrator: This is Science Today . A protein responsible for triggering the deadly development of pulmonary fibrosis has been singled out by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Dean Sheppard, director of the university's Lung Biology Center, says a protein called integrin sets off the process of lung inflammation which eventually prevents the lungs from getting oxygen into the bloodstream.
Sheppard: One of the more interesting things about our findings was how this process works 'cause the protein that we were studying actually turns out binds and activates a completely different protein that's central to pulmonary fibrosis. So that protein is called TGF Beta, or transforming growth factor beta.
Narrator: TGF Beta is essential to the healing process, but when it goes awry, scarring, or fibrosis, results.
Sheppard: Targeting this integrin would be a way to potentially more safely target the bad actions of TGF Beta.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.