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SARCOIDOSISUK RESEARCH PROJECT 2019

In 2019 we committed £60,000 to a laboratory analysis of sarcoidosis scarring in the lungs. The aim of the research is to understand new key information about the scarring process. This will inform clinical trials and may enable new treatments to be developed.

Overview

About 20% of sarcoidosis patients develop scarring in their lungs. This scarring often causes breathlessness and may lead to a number of more serious and irreversible ​symptoms, sadly including death. Unfortunately, we know that currently available treatments don’t prevent this scarring process.

In 2019 SarcoidosisUK have funded an exciting 2 year research project to tackle this issue. The research, led by Dr Mark Jones and colleagues at the University of Southampton, aims to investigate the properties of lung scarring from patient samples and by growing 3D scar cells in the laboratory using a new cutting-edge technique. The team will then test whether these scar samples and models can be altered using anti-scarring treatments that are currently used to treat other fibrotic lung conditions (treatments such as ‘pirfenidone’ and ‘nintedanib’).

The study will provide vital new understanding of scarring mechanisms in sarcoidosis and provide evidence for what treatment approaches may be effective for patients with lung scarring. The results will inform future clinical trials and may provide key new evidence to suggest that anti-fibrotics could play an effective role in treating some of the most severe symptoms of pulmonary sarcoidosis.

Research Partners

University of Southampton and NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre

Researcher

Dr Mark Jones, Professor in Respiratory Medicine, University of Southampton & Academic Lead for Interstitial Lung Diseases, NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre.

Cost

£120,000

Project Dates

2020 – 2022

(L-R) Jack Richardson (SarcoidosisUK), Prof. Donna Davies, Dr Mark Jones (both University of Southampton), Henry Shelford (SarcoidosisUK), November 2019

“We are very grateful to SarcoidosisUK for funding our research. Up to 1 in 5 individuals with sarcoidosis may develop scarring – or fibrosis – of the lungs, but we understand very little about why this process occurs and there are no treatments proven to stop the scarring process. Our research aims to address this.

Firstly we will study lung tissue from patients who have developed scarring as a result of sarcoidosis as well as growing scar forming cells from patients in the laboratory to better understand how they make scar-tissue. We will then apply different possible treatments to the scar forming cells to identify which can stop the scarring process. Our research will provide new understanding of scarring mechanisms in sarcoidosis and ultimately we hope will provide evidence for clinical trials to identify which treatment approach will be effective for individual patients.”

Dr Mark Jones

Professor in Respiratory Medicine & Academic Lead for Interstitial Lung Diseases, University of Southampton & NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre

“At SarcoidosisUK we regularly talk to patients who have lung scarring and struggle to live normal lives. I personally have spoken to family members of patients sadly not with us any longer due to the irreversible effects of scarring.

Dr Jones’ 3D modelling and impressive biobank of samples might be the key to unlocking treatments which are already available on the NHS for other lung conditions. This means that, with this research, we have a real chance to transform the lives of many sarcoid patients in a relatively short period of time.”

Henry Shelford

Chairperson and CEO, SarcoidosisUK

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