Australian scientists hope a drug that mimics part of a shark’s immune system may help treat an incurable lung disease.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) scars lung tissue, causing breathing to become progressively harder.
It kills more than 5,000 people each year in the UK alone, according to the British Lung Foundation.
Researchers hope a new drug, inspired by an antibody in the blood of sharks, can begin human trials next year.
The drug, AD-114, was developed by researchers at Melbourne’s La Trobe University and biotechnology company AdAlta.
Initial testing successfully targeted fibrosis-causing cells by creating a human protein that imitated the shark’s antibody, according to Dr Mick Foley, from the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science.
“Fibrosis is the end result of a lot of different insults and injuries,” he told the BBC.
“This molecule can kill the cells that cause fibrosis.”
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