2 million euro grant for DZL research group

Research group at CPC-M is targeting scar-free wound healing as a possible treatment for pulmonary fibrosis
Dr. Yuval Rinkevich

Dr. Yuval Rinkevich

© Helmholtz Zentrum München

Why does injured skin regenerate completely in the early stages of life - and is scarring more and more in later life stages? Dr. Yuval Rinkevich pursues this question in his ScarLessWorld project. The answer could also be a breakthrough in the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis, in which the lung tissue becomes more and more scarred.

The decision by the European Research Council, ERC, proves that the initial questions from the team are exciting: two million euro of research funding go to Yuval Rinkevich's group over the next five years to find answers to these questions.

The "Cellular Therapeutics in Chronic Lung Disease" research group at CPC-M has already shown initial results: It has proven that different types of connective tissue cells (fibroblasts) are used in wound healing. In early life stages, for example, they are regenerative fibroblasts - the tissue is completely new. In later stages of life, there are more scar-forming fibroblasts. The researchers therefore transplanted young fibroblasts into the wound regions of "old" tissue. Result: less scarring.

The team will continue to investigate this process, this scarless wound healing, in the coming years and will try to clinically rebuild it in the long term. First, the researchers want to catalog the types of fibroblasts involved, then identify the genes responsible for regeneration. Ultimately, the approach could allow therapy for diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, which has so far not been curable.

“Using the technologies we have developed, we can achieve this breakthrough. That would be a huge leap forward for regenerative medicine,” says Rinkevich.

A more  detailed report on Dr. Rinkevich's research can be found here.