IPF is a progressive, fatal lung disease in which the alveoli and the lung tissue are damaged, becoming thick and scarred (fibrosis), leading to severe breathing difficulties and compromising oxygen transfer between the lungs and the bloodstream. IPF is characterized by a shortness of breath that gradually worsens, with respiratory failure being the main cause of death associated with the disease.
There is no cure for IPF and it is estimated that 128,000 individuals in the United States suffer from the disease, with approximately 48,000 new cases diagnosed every year. IPF has a poor prognosis and around two-thirds of the patients die within five years after being diagnosed.
Late in 2014, the FDA approved two new therapies for the treatment of IPF, Ofev (nintedanib) and Esbriet (pirfenidone). However, patients are still seeking out novel therapeutic solutions for the disease and stem cell therapy has recently become a popular, albeit controversial, emerging treatment approach for a range of diseases, including IPF.
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