Thorax 67:179-182 doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2011-200195
  • Chest clinic
  • Opinion

In search of the fibrotic epithelial cell: opportunities for a collaborative network

  1. Paul Wolters15 on behalf of the contributors to the ECIPF workshop
  1. 1Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Respiratory Therapy Area, GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage, UK
  3. 3Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Will Rogers Institute, Pulmonary Research Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  4. 4Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Institute for Lung Health, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  5. 5Trinity College Dublin, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dublin, Ireland
  6. 6Institute of Cellular Medicine, University of Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
  7. 7Centre of Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  8. 8Comprehensive Pneumology Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, University Hospital Grosshadern, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Munich, Germany
  9. 9National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK
  10. 10Centre for Respiratory Research, University College London, Rayne Institute, London, UK
  11. 11Academic Respiratory Unit, University of Bristol, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK
  12. 12Division of Respiratory Medicine, University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's and Papworth Hospitals, Cambridge, UK
  13. 13Lung Cell Biology, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, UK
  14. 14School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, College of Health and Dental Sciences University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  15. 15Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Gisli Jenkins, Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Clinical Sciences Building, City Hospital Campus, University of Nottingham, Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK; gisli.jenkins{at}
  1. Contributors All contributors contributed to the writing of this manuscript.

  • Received 15 March 2011
  • Accepted 11 May 2011
  • Published Online First 15 June 2011


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic progressive disease of unknown aetiology. It has a very poor prognosis and no effective treatment. There are two major barriers to the development of novel treatments in IPF: an incomplete understanding of its pathogenesis and the fact that current models of the disease are poorly predictive of therapeutic response. Recent studies suggest an important role for the alveolar epithelium in the pathogenesis of IPF. However, practical limitations associated with isolation and culture of primary alveolar epithelial cells have hampered progress towards further elucidating their role in the pathogenesis of the disease or developing disease models that accurately reflect the epithelial contribution. The practical limitations of primary alveolar epithelial cell culture can be divided into technical, logistical and regulatory hurdles that need to be overcome to ensure rapid progress towards improved treatment for patients with IPF. To develop a strategy to facilitate alveolar epithelial cell harvest, retrieval and sharing between IPF research groups and to determine how these cells contribute to IPF, a workshop was organised to discuss the central issues surrounding epithelial cells in IPF (ECIPF). The central themes discussed in the workshop have been compiled as the proceedings of the ECIPF.


  • Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Epithelial Cells in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (ECIPF), 15 October 2010, Nottingham Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit.

  • Funding The Workshop was part funded by the Nottingham Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit and GlaxoSmithKline.

  • Competing interests AB, ZB, PB, CE, NH, MK, AM, TT, DT and PW have no competing interests. GJ has received consultancy income from GlaxoSmithKline within the last 3 years and holds an MRC Industry Collaboration Award with GlaxoSmithKline. AF receives research funding from GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune and Chiesi. SJ has received consultancy income from GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis within the last 3 years. He holds a BBSRC Industry Collaboration Award with GlaxoSmithKline, an MRC CASE award with Mologic and has a research agreement with Mondobiotec. TM has received consultancy fees from Actelion, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline and Phillips Respironics within the last three years. He holds an unrestricted academic industry research grant from GlaxoSmithKline. HP has received consultancy income from GlaxoSmithKline within the last 3 years. CS has received consultancy income from GlaxoSmithKline within the last 3 years and holds a BBSRC Industrial CASE Award in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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