As the drug development community continues to invest into pulmonary fibrosis research, new insights are improving both diagnostic and prognostic tools for improving treatment of the disease. Recently, Pacific Therapeutics Ltd. scientists reported in a study entitled “Familial and sporadic idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis:making the diagnosis from peripheral blood” that sporadic idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is possible to diagnose using peripheral blood samples to detect a specific functional genetic signature. The revelation could dramatically simplify the method in which IPF is diagnosed in patients. The study was published in October issue of BMC Genomics.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is characterized by scarring of the lung tissue, and affected patients suffer from shortness of breath, which ultimately escalates into a life-threatening condition. In the United States and Europe approximately 200,000 patients have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and 48,000 new diagnoses are performed every year.
Pacific Therapeutics CEO and President Doug Unwin noted, “Diagnosis of IPF frequently requires a battery of invasive tests, including biopsies and CT Scans. Additionally, the diagnosis usually needs to be confirmed by a team of doctors with varied specialties. Being able to improve and speed the diagnoses of IPF with a simple blood test would be a welcome event for patients, physicians and researchers alike.”
In the study, the researchers at Pacific Therapeutics Ltd. analyzed the genetic profile of 89 patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and 26 normal controls. The samples were stratified according to disease severity, reported by pulmonary lung function tests. They developed a gene expression model to identify IPF. While IPF is difficult to diagnose, molecular biomarkers, such as functional genetic signatures, have been found to help both diagnosis accuracy and efficiency.
Pacific Therapeutics is currently investigating a drug, PTL-202, to treat fibrosis. PTL-202 is a combination of an FDA approved drug with a potent antioxidant and was previously successful in a phase 1 clinical trial. Together with these new findings, the company is establishing itself as a leader in IPF drug discovery and development that could someday cure the disease.