The team, including Dr Richard Allen APF Fellow, compared the DNA of 4,000 people with IPF to 20,000 people without.
In total they investigated over 10 million changes in the DNA and found that people with IPF were more likely to have changes in three genes that had not previously been known to be involved with the disease. These genes could suggest biological pathways which crucially could be targets for new drugs.
One of the genes lies in a pathway that has recently been shown to promote fibrosis in the lungs.
Drugs are being developed that can target this pathway and might benefit patients. The other two genes highlight pathways not previously investigated for IPF but which may drive development of new treatments in the future.
Dr Richard Allen, APF Fellow at University of Leicester says
These are really exciting discoveries. I hope this research will help in the development of treatments which are desperately needed for this devastating disease.