The “master regulator” of inflammation: Monash researchers publish review on promising emerging drug target to treat chronic inflammatory states

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Drug discovery researchers from Monash University, in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London, have published a state-of-the-art review on an emerging druggable target called ‘formyl peptide receptor 2’ (FPR2), a key receptor involved in the regulation of inflammation.

The in-depth review, published in the prestigious British Journal of Pharmacology, provides a comprehensive overview of FPR2 and its potential to rectify chronic inflammatory states associated with diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Inflammation is critical to our body's healing process. However, if inflammatory cells stay too long, it will lead to chronic inflammation and a range of diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cancers.

Co-corresponding author, Professor Rebecca Ritchie from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), said that FPR2 is uniquely placed to offer innovative ways to rectify chronic inflammatory states, representing a viable avenue to develop novel therapeutics.

“FPR2 promotes the resolution of inflammation, which promotes tissue healing. This is a distinct difference from the traditional anti-inflammatory response which can impair tissue healing and may also lead to immunosuppression,” said Professor Ritchie.

FPR2, a member of the G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) family, has over the last decade progressed from being considered a weak chemotactic receptor to a “master-regulator” of the resolution of inflammation, the second phase of the acute inflammatory response.

Dr Chengxue Helena Qin, a MIPS Drug Discovery Biology Senior Research Fellow and review co-author said: “This review encapsulates the fascinating pharmacology and recent advances with respect to the structure of FPR2, and how this structure will facilitate the development of the pro-resolving medicine of the next decade.”

“We anticipate that the rapidly-expanding translational opportunities this intriguing GPCR target offers will continue to be embraced by the wider academic research community in addition to the pharmaceutical industry.”

Professor Mauro Perretti from The William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, is the joint senior corresponding author. Other Monash researchers include Dr Lauren May, Associate Professor Denise Wootten and Dr Elizabeth Vecchio. Collaborators include Dr Lucy Norling from The William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, along with Professor Catherine Godson and Dr Eoin Brennan from University College Dublin.

The Monash component to this FPR-centred work was supported in part by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

To read the full review visit: