Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have deciphered the genetic code of cells involved in healthy and diseased human lungs.

Jeffrey Whitsett MD.

Jeffrey Whitsett, MD

After conducting what they believe to be the first single-cell RNA sequence analysis of normal and diseased human lung tissues, the scientists reported their findings Dec. 8, 2016, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insights.

Their analysis provides a genetic blueprint of cell types involved in lung disease and a window to processes driving inflammation and fibrosis. The work will help find molecular targets for diagnosing and treating childhood lung diseases, as well as adult lung diseases such as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).

“This paper identifies a number of novel targets and molecular pathways for IPF, for which there are pharmaceutical approaches,” says Jeffrey Whitsett, MD, lead investigator and Co-Director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s.