Telomerase Gene Therapy for Pulmonary Fibrosis

Journal Club August 2020


The Journal Club returns August 25th at 13:00 EDT live on our Facebook page where Dr. Oliver Medvedik will be taking a look at the new study by Dr. Maria Blasco from the CNIO, which shows that telomerase therapy can address fibrosis in normally aged mice and not just mouse models of the disease.


Short/dysfunctional telomeres are at the origin of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in patients mutant for telomere maintenance genes. However, it remains unknown whether physiological aging leads to short telomeres in the lung, thus leading to IPF with aging. Here, we find that physiological aging in wild-type mice leads to telomere shortening and a reduced proliferative potential of alveolar type II cells and club cells, increased cellular senescence and DNA damage, increased fibroblast activation and collagen deposits, and impaired lung biophysics, suggestive of a fibrosis-like pathology. Treatment of both wild-type and telomerase-deficient mice with telomerase gene therapy prevented the onset of lung profibrotic pathologies. These findings suggest that short telomeres associated with physiological aging are at the origin of IPF and that a potential treatment for IPF based on telomerase activation would be of interest not only for patients with telomerase mutations but also for sporadic cases of IPF associated with physiological aging.


Piñeiro-Hermida, S., Autilio, C., Martínez, P., Bosch, F., Pérez-Gil, J., & Blasco, M. A. (2020). Telomerase treatment prevents lung profibrotic pathologies associated with physiological agingJournal of Cell Biology219(10).
About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 600 articles on the topic, interviewed over 100 of the leading researchers in the field, hosted livestream events focused on aging, as well as attending various medical industry conferences. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, Swiss Monthly, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve is one of three recipients of the 2020 H+ Innovator Award and shares this honour with Mirko Ranieri – Google AR and Dinorah Delfin – Immortalists Magazine. The H+ Innovator Award looks into our community and acknowledges ideas and projects that encourage social change, achieve scientific accomplishments, technological advances, philosophical and intellectual visions, author unique narratives, build fascinating artistic ventures, and develop products that bridge gaps and help us to achieve transhumanist goals. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project.