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AstraZeneca to explore link between epigenetics and respiratory diseases

Joins forces with Asthma UK, the British Lung Foundation and MRC Technology

AstraZeneca has launched a research initiative to investigate the link between respiratory diseases and changes in the way genes are expressed.

Teaming up with Asthma UK, the British Lung Foundation and independent medical research charity MRC Technology, AZ hopes to discover new epigenetic treatments for people living with respiratory diseases.

Maarten Kraan, head of the respiratory and inflammation innovative medicines unit at AstraZeneca, said: “With novel therapeutic strategies directed against epigenetic changes, this collaboration represents an important step forward in AstraZeneca's commitment to the fundamental research needed to find transformative medicines for the hundreds of millions of patients afflicted by these conditions.”

Epigenetics are changes in the expression of genes attributed to lifestyle factors affecting the body, but do not alter the DNA sequence. To date, research into epigenetics has been largely focused on cancer, but the collaborators believe it houses the potential to accelerate development of new respiratory disease therapies.

Research will initially focus on asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), before widening the net to address the numerous other conditions included under the respiratory disease umbrella.

The four partners will pool their respective resources, contributing expertise in drug discovery and clinical development, funding and access to research networks and patient groups, and are calling for respiratory research specialists to join the early stage project.

MRC Technology's drug discovery director Dr Justin Bryans, said: “Our collaboration improves the likelihood that promising research will be translated into potential new patient treatments.

“The funding and support from Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation will enable us to identify innovative science to progress in our own laboratories, while AstraZeneca's expertise is invaluable to get therapies into the clinic.”

Article by
Rebecca Clifford

7th September 2016

From: Research



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