Pulmonary Fibrosis Treatments Work Well

Inhaled interferron gamma was safe and well tolerated in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis has no known origin with no treatment. A new study is giving some insights for sufferers with a new inhaled medication.

Researchers have shown interferon-gamma, in inhaled form, is safe and well-tolerated among idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis sufferers.

This new study could help pave the way for new clinical trials of the drug and provide a new treatment for this fatal disease.

"Talk to your doctor about ways to manage pulmonary fibrosis symptoms."

The study was led by Keith T. Diaz, M.D., from the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. To study the safety of inhaled interferon-gamma, researchers gave 10 idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis sufferers a treatment of inhaled interferon-gamma three times a week for 80 weeks.

At the end of the trial, there were no side effects associated with the inhaled interferon-gamma treatment.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is different than cystic fibrosis because there is no known cause of the disease. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is when the body creates an excess of connective tissue in the lungs, and according to the researchers, most sufferers die within five years from the disease.

Interferon-gamma was initially thought of as a possible treatment but clinical trials using an injected form of the treatment were unsuccessful. 

The study mostly focused on the safety of the treatment, not so much of the effectiveness of the treatment. Researchers did measure forced vital capacity (FVC), total lung capacity (TLC) and diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO), which measures how well the lungs transfers gases such as oxygen and carbon monoxide. While FVC was not significantly improved, the rate of decline for TLC and DLCO improved.

Inhaled interferron-gamma was shown to be safe in this study and researchers want to use the treatment in clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. 

Partial funding of the study was provided by Philips Respironics. This study was published in the March edition of Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery.

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Review Date: 
March 1, 2012
Last Updated:
March 2, 2012