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E. New Insight Into A Deadly Lung Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. A protein which triggers the onset of pulmonary fibrosis may lead to better treatment. Dr. Dean Sheppard of the University of California, San Francisco, says currently there isn't adequate treatment for severe lung scarring, or fibrosis.

Sheppard: The major treatment targets inflammation in the lung and there's a class of drugs called cortico steroids that are commonly used but only about twenty percent of people with pulmonary fibrosis have any beneficial effect from the current treatment. So, if we can really prevent or reverse lung fibrosis in a new way, it would be a huge benefit to people with this disease.

Narrator: Sheppard and his colleagues are hoping to develop a drug to block a protein called integrin, which they found activates TGF Beta, a protein central to pulmonary fibrosis.

Sheppard: My strong suspicion is that there are many different ways to activate TGF Beta. The way that we've identified seems to be especially important in conditions where there's excessive scarring, for example lung fibrosis.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.