Co-development proposal for lung disease prevention /inhalation therapy / prognosis by lung microbiome analysis


  • Bacterial flora analysis available from clinical specimens (bronchoalveolar lavage fluid for interstitial pneumonia, surgical lung tissue)
  • Already identified bacterial species associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and been investigating them for prognosis and treatment
  • Exploring the potential of inhalation therapy with lung surfactant proteins
  • Analysis of respiratory diseases in general, including lung cancer, bronchial asthma, COPD, and sarcoidosis, will be considered

Current Research Stage & Goals

It has been believed that healthy lungs are sterile, but recent advances in molecular biology have revealed the existence of diverse bacterial flora in the lungs. The bacterial population in the healthy lung is maintained at a near constant level by influx due to subclinical aspiration and efflux due to Innate immunity such as ciliary movement. In recent years, the relationship between the lung microbiome and respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, and lung cancer has been reported.

In this study, the diversity of the bacterial flora, the types of bacteria that make up the flora, and their variety were analyzed in 34 patients diagnosed with IPF and their different stages of the disease. In parallel, the lung microbiome of mice with bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis was also analyzed. The results showed that “increase in Firmicutes”, “decrease in Proteobacteria” and “decrease in bacterial diversity” were associated with early death and worsening of disease in IPF. In the next step, a detailed study is planned to utilize these findings to inhibit the progression of fibrosis with treatment that includes respiratory inhalation therapy targeting specific strains of bacteria, or to establish prediction of acute exacerbations/prognosis of IPF by analyzing the bacterial phase.

In addition, the following research projects are underway within the same university.

  1.  A prospective study of respiratory microbiota IPF and other interstitial pneumonias (IRB Approval No. 272-174)
  2.  A prospective observational study of the lung microbiome in heavy smokers (IRB Approval No. 292-178)
  3.  Effects of innate immunity (especially lung surfactant proteins) on the lung microbiome (Animal Experimental Protocol 18-020)


Takahashi Y, Saito A et al. Impaired Diversity of the Lung Microbiome Predicts Progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Respiratory Research 2018, 19:34.

Principal Investigator

Sapporo Medical University  Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology
Assistant Professor Atsushi Saito


We are looking for partner companies that are interested in co-development, joint research or research support in this research and its results. We would first like to exchange information and discuss the potential of this development theme.

Product No. ON-04067


Other than Medicine


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