While not considered a disease itself, fibrosis represents a fundamental problem in human pathology as it is a convergent point of many chronic diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, myocardial and systemic sclerosis and nephrosclerosis. From a pathogenetic point of view, these pathological entities share many of the molecular mechanisms underlying the process of fibrogenesis. For this reason it is of crucial interest to gain insight into these pathways, especially if we consider the limited availability of effective therapies. The last few years have witnessed a quite significant progress in the basic knowledge of the fibrogenic process, such as the fundamental role of the differentiation of epithelial or endothelial cells into myofibroblasts, and the involvement of these contractile cells in the accumulation of matrix components. However, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in this phenotypic transformation is not yet completed, and we are still far away from blocking or ameliorating the associated fibrotic process.
FIBROTEAM is a research consortium supported by the Community of Madrid that is composed by 6 groups with specific though complementary experience on the varied aspects of fibrosis and a common global translational mission. Under the title of our research focus (“Molecular mechanisms, experimental models and therapeutic approaches in the organic fibrosis: from the biological mediator to the clinical application”), our scientific objectives can be divided in two general areas: a) obtaining a better knowledge of cellular and molecular mediators of the general process of fibrogenesis and b) establishing experimental models of fibrosis in specific organs including heart, lung, kidney, skin and peritoneum together with the study of model organisms such as the zebrafish. The development of the second group of aims will also allow the evaluation of molecules with antifibrotic potential as well as the identification of new therapeutic targets in specific organs.