A novel compound for curing lung fibrosis

In January, ICGEB Cardiovascular Biology lab Group Leader Serena Zacchigna presents the study which has produced a new compound contributing to the reversal of lung fibrosis.

In a recent Rai radio broadcast, Serena Zacchigna discussed the translational study published in Open Access in December 2021 in the Journal Cell Death and Disease – Nature. The result of an Interreg project launched in 2017, the study involved a collaboration between Dr. Zacchigna’s lab and a team of Slovenian scientists which started with virtual screenings aimed at identifying new drugs capable of blocking fibrosis.

Serena Zacchigna
Serena Zacchigna is head of the Cardiovascular Biology lab at ICGEB

Prof. Zacchigna explains: “The ICGEB in Trieste has a ‘high-throughput screening’ facility where automated robotic systems allow us to examine the activity of thousands of molecules (from genes to medicines)”.

“In this study, we performed a real screening in which we examined the activity of all the FDA- and EMA-approved drugs for their capacity to block the action of myofibroblasts, which are at the basis of fibrosis. With the help of pharmacologists, we synthetised a molecule that met all the necessary pharmacological criteria, which we named TS1 (after the city of Trieste). This molecule is the most efficient among those examined, and we validated it in pre-clinical models for lung fibrosis.”

“The next step will be to improve the profile and usability of the compound – for example, to evaluate whether it can be administered as aerosol so that it may reach the lungs, and not the other organs. We also wish to see whether we can build other compounds to be used on other tissues (for example, to cure cardiac or liver fibrosis)”, Concludes Prof. Zacchigna.


Link to article:

Ring., N.A.R., et al, 2022. Wet-dry-wet drug screen leads to the synthesis of TS1, a novel compound reversing lung fibrosis through inhibition of myofibroblast differentiation. Cell Death & Disease, 13