Anti-fibrotic Drugs Targeting Synthesis of Type I Collagen
Fibrosis affects 45% of the population in the USA. It is characterized by excessive synthesis of type 1 collagen and scarring of various organs. This leads to organ insufficiency and death. The process is chronic and progressive and there are no approved drugs that can inhibit collagen synthesis. Aspects of the regulation of type 1 collagen production have been delineated and a drug screening procedure based on disruption of the regulatory pathway has been devised. Using this screening procedure a library of chemicals compounds has been screened and nine compounds that can inhibit collagen synthesis in cultured cells between 50-90% have been found.
This is a completely novel approach to finding antifibrotic drugs. If these compounds prove to be effective in animal models and clinical trials, they will be the first chemicals that can directly inhibit collagen production. Since there is no cure for fibrosis, they may represent the first specific antifibrotic drugs.