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Heisenberg Research Group Prof. Dr. J. Distler

The impact of fibroblasts in sclerodermia and rheumatoid arthritis

Head: Prof. Dr. med. Jörg Distler

Fibrotic diseases account for up to 45% of deaths in the developed world, yet there are almost no effective anti-fibrotic therapies for clinical use.

In our research group, we aim to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the aberrant tissue responses in fibrotic diseases (such as systemic sclerosis/scleroderma, chronic Graft-versus-Host-disease, pulmonary fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, renal fibrosis and hypertrophic scars) and to develop novel strategies for therapeutic intervention.

Our strategy is to identify de-regulated signaling pathways in samples of human fibrotic diseases ex vivo, to characterize their regulation and function in vitro and in vivo and to evaluate their potential for therapeutic intervention in murine models. Our evaluation included novel optical imaging strategies, which we run in close cooperation with the Max-Planck Institute of the Science of Light (Immunophysics).

Promising novel therapeutic approaches are transferred from bench-to-bedside with evaluation of the novel pharmacologic approach in clinical trials in patients with fibrotic diseases, often in cooperation with pharmaceutical industry.

Selected Publications of Prof. Dr. Jörg Distler