Researchers at Cedars-Guild Sinai's Women's Lung Institute have discovered that zinc, a common mineral, can help patients recover from lung injury and live longer.
Their findings, which were published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, have the potential to transform the therapy landscape for individuals with this condition, which affects people over the age of 50.
Paul Noble, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine, director of the Women's Guild Lung Institute, and co-senior author of the study, remarked, "This study has the potential to be a game changer."
"We discovered a core cause of IPF-related lung damage as well as a prospective treatment target that could help the lungs recover themselves again."
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, is a disease with no known etiology that affects 100,000 people in the United States.
There is no cure for fibrosis, which causes progressive breathing difficulties, and most patients die or require a lung transplant within three to five years of diagnosis.