Breakthrough in UMCG: new discovery against scar tissue

Friday 24 June 2016

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Researchers of the University Medical Center Groningen have succeeded in slowing down the protein that causes scar tissue. Because of the scar tissue liver, lungs, and kidneys may be damaged. This is good news, because of all chronic diseases where die from, about a quarter is partly due to internal scar tissue.

Scars caused by growth of connective tissue in an organ that is persistent. The so-called fibrosis reduces the function of that organ, such as heart, liver, lungs or kidneys. That can be deadly.

Number one killer
"It is often thought that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer," says biomedical researcher Ruud Bank of the UMCG. "But fibrosis are. Because they occur in different organs, we do not see them reflected in the statistics. "

The researchers found that the protein that is responsible for scar tissue, is activated by a different protein. With the drug Tacrolimus is it possible to block the action of this protein. For the first time, is there a possible treatment of organ damage and disfiguring scars.

Medicine for itching
Up to now, there is no means found against the responsible protein, but the UMCG researchers discovered the effect of the activating on the responsible protein - and that activation protein can be inhibited. It is remarkable that the drug Tacrolimus is used for the relief of itching and swelling at eczema.

The discovery could mean that Tacrolimus may also be used against combat fibrosis. The method should be explored even further, says Bank. "But it looks good. Normally these experiments are done on animals. We have used only human cells."