Study points to potential treatment targets for non-small cell lung diseases

Researchers from the University of Sydney’s Allan Cyprian Institute have demonstrated a promising therapy strategy for non-small cell lung diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

IPF, a chronic, progressive and highly aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is a genetic disease that originates in the airways of patients at a young age. It is easily caused by viral infection, often in small airway contraction areas, and is made worse by smoking, heavy smoking and age. Current therapeutic strategies for IPF are often poor and restricted to the application of essential toenail or skin treatments, medication, surgical removal and radiotherapy. Pharmacological therapies are often either unsuccessful options or ineffective.

In an innovative case-based study published in the American Journal of Hematology/Oncology, a team led by Professor Brian Fincham, in collaboration with Dr. Abbas A. Mafati of the Department of Medicine, Lung Transplants and Airway Disease in the Hunter College Hospital, have investigated a promising therapy approach for presenting percutaneous COPD, a rare type of non-small cell lung disease.

Our study showed that a small molecule known as picenol-N-polysaccharide (PN), which can activate non-small cell RNA, resulted in a significant reduction in disease activity in a mice model of percutaneous COPD. ‘Lung transplantation’ was induced in this model, where tiny amounts of lung-normal lung cells were transferred into each of the mice, where they were extinguished and placed on a low-calorie, nutrient-dense rodent diet, ‘sheltered’ for a few weeks prior to transplant. This allowed us to confirm and validate the effectiveness of this new therapeutic approach, “

Professor Brian Fincham, University of Sydney.