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Fibrosis: From Basic Mechanisms to Targeted Therapies

7th February 2016 - 11th February 2016
Keystone, United States


Fibrosis is the primary process of many diseases and the end-stage of many more, frequently leading to organ failure. However, the mechanisms leading to fibrosis have been poorly understood and available therapeutics targeting fibrosis limited. Increasingly, fibrosis is understood as a dynamic process that is orchestrated by the immune system, or activated by inflammation or cellular stress. Fibrosis of lung, kidney, skin, liver and muscle typically follow a variety of different stimuli. Advances in understanding Th2 cell responses, cell death, the inflammasome and ER and oxidative stresses provide new insights into such stimuli. Understanding the regulation of and interaction between profibrotic cytokines such as TGFb, IL-13, and CTGF are shedding additional light on fibrotic processes. Recent studies indicate that fibrosis is mediated by dedicated progenitor and resident cells within target tissues. Fibroblast and perivascular cell phenotype and differentiation are regulated not only by cytokines, but also by matrix composition and stiffness. Advances in the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and systemic sclerosis herald many new anti-fibrotic therapies that will soon enter clinical trials. Thus, mechanistic understandings will soon answer the long-standing clinical challenges of fibrotic and end-stage scarring diseases.

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