A recent study conducted by researchers from Stanford University found immunotherapy as a  promising treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

IPF bensfriends

IPF is a rare disease that involves the growth of scar tissues in the lungs which hinder their proper functioning. Eventually, the patient with IPF experiences difficulty breathing, along with other symptoms such as chest pain, dry cough, and fatigue among others. 

Although some people benefit from medications in managing the symptoms, there is currently no cure for IPF and many patients would need a lung transplant.

In the study, which findings were published in the journal Nature Communications with the title Activation of JUN in fibroblasts promotes pro-fibrotic programme and modulates protective immunity, Gerlinde Wernig, MD and her colleagues were able to establish methodologies that would reverse fibrosis. 

A prior study that they have published in 2017 showed that adult mice which developed lung fibrosis following JUN inducement also have increased CD47, a protein that helps malignant cells to evade removal from the system. In that study, they have found that an anti-CD47 immune treatment could prevent the development of pulmonary fibrosis in mice. [1] 

In the recent study, on the other hand, the researchers have successfully reduced fibrosis in mice by simultaneously blocking three proteins such as Interleukin-6, PD-L1, and CD47.  

Considering that “pulmonary fibrosis has a terrible prognosis rivaling some of the worst malignancies,” [2] further developments in the said research could be extremely beneficial to patients. 

Aside from Dr. Wernig, the other researchers involved in the study are Lu Cui, Shih-Yu Chen, Tristan Lerbs, Jin-Wook Lee, Pablo Domizi, Sydney Gordon, Yong-hun Kim, Garry Nolan, and Paola Betancur.


[1] Cui, L., Chen, S., Lerbs, T. et al. (2020). Activation of JUN in fibroblasts promotes pro-fibrotic programme and modulates protective immunity. Nat Commun 11, 2795 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16466-4

[2] Cui, L., Chen, S., Lerbs, T. et al. (2020).


Ben’s Friends is a network of safe and supportive online communities for individuals affected by a rare disease or chronic condition. Our Living with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Community aims to provide online support to people affected by IDP. If you think you would benefit from our community, we invite you to sign up here.