We are a dedicated team of clinical and basic scientists who are trying to understand the biology of scar formation in diseased organs.
A scar is a type of protective tissue that forms in response to serious tissue damage and acts to prevent further injury and infection. Scars are therefore useful, but only if they are limited to a small part of a tissue or organ. Problems arise when scars spread and begin to replace too much of the normal tissue that an organ such as a liver, kidney or lung requires to carry out its vital day-to-day functions. A continuous injury to a vital organ (e.g. autoimmune disease or chronic viral infection) causes progressive scar formation (known as “fibrosis”) which can eventually lead to failure of the organ.
At present we have no medicines for the prevention or treatment of fibrosis and as a result hundreds of thousands of patients are suffering from serious life-threatening illness for which the only remedy is an organ transplant which is often not possible. We are unique in Newcastle in that we have a large critical mass of scientists from a variety of backgrounds (basic scientists, liver doctors, transplant physicians, kidney and lung medics) who are all focused on developing ways to either prevent or treat fibrotic disease.
Our work has a large emphasis on the use of human tissue and cells to ensure that we can translate our findings direct to patient benefit, but in addition we utilise small rodent models (rats and mice) of chronic diseases for pre-clinical assessment of new therapeutics. Finally, we have excellent links to the NHS hospitals in the North East which provides the infrastructure to take our laboratory-based discoveries into the clinic to improve patient care.
If you are concerned that you might have probelms associated with fibrosis, you should contact your doctor to discuss it. If you are interested in finding out more about multi-organ pathology, and our research into its causes and treatments, or are interested in participating in our research you are encouraged to contact Prof Derek Mann.