A number of important discoveries, therapeutic developments, and events related to pulmonary fibrosis (PF) were reported daily by Pulmonary Fibrosis News throughout 2016.
Now that the year is over, it is time to briefly review the articles that appealed most to our readers. Here are the 10 most-read articles of 2016, with a brief description of what made them interesting and relevant to PF patients, family members, and caregivers.
An Italian study found that patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) might benefit from Esbriet (pirfenidone) treatment, regardless of their disease stage and baseline lung function. Current treatment options for IPF, such as Esbriet or Ofev/Vargatef (nintedanib), may delay disease progression but will not cure it. The study suggests that treating patients early in the disease may be the best strategy to preserving functional status and extend a patient’s life.
A study found that statins provide beneficial effects for IPF patients, including decreased death risk. IPF is associated with significant cardiovascular comorbidities, with patients often requiring drugs to treat associated cardiovascular risk factors. The ‘statin’ class of drugs showed benefits, particularly due to its cholesterol-lowering effects and associated risk reduction of cardiovascular mortality.
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers showed that the smallpox vaccine may reverse established lung fibrosis in mice, as the vaccine changed the reactivity of various types of immune T-cells. These findings suggest that balancing the actions of these immune players could be critical to developing new immunotherapies for lung fibrosis.
A study suggested that metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes and that has proven effective and safe, could benefit people with IPF by working to diminish lung fibrosis. The study sheds light on the way metformin works, and suggests that the drug shows promise as a treatment for IPF.
An Israeli study suggested that physical inactivity and low blood-oxygen levels during periods of exercise predict poor survival in patients with IPF, underscoring the importance of assessing physical activity and oxygen desaturation in identifying high-risk patients. The study links even low levels of exercise to an increased risk of death, demonstrating that interventions to increase the amount of exercise, as well as lung rehabilitation programs, might change the course of the disease.
Joe Nichols, a country music artist, partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to raise awareness about IPF after his father passed away from the condition at age 46. Nichols took part in the famous ‘Breathless’ campaign, and talked about how IPF has impacted his and his family’s lives.
A Phase 2 clinical trial led by ProMetic Life Sciences showed that treatment with PBI-4050 might be safe and effective for patients with IPF. Preliminary results found that PBI-4050 was safe and well-tolerated, with evidence of clinical effectiveness either alone or in combination with other IPF drugs, like Ofev and Esbriet.
Veracyte announced the launch of its non-invasive test to improve the diagnosis of interstitial lung diseases, like IPF. Envisia Genomic Classifier should reportedly offer a fast and more accurate diagnosis than is currently available without the need for a lung biopsy. The announcement was made at the 2016 CHEST annual meeting.
FibroGen disclosed innovative results from a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of the company’s investigational drug FG-3019 in the treatment of IPF. Study data indicated that the monoclonal antibody agent was capable of reducing lung fibrosis in a portion of the IPF patients enrolled. FG-3019 is a human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the activity of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF).
A review study focusing on available treatment options for IPF took a critical but positive look at available research information for OFEV and found that, overall, the development of novel IPF drugs has followed the knowledge curve of disease pathogenesis. In this study, OFEV was praised as one of the two novel IPF drugs that revolutionized IPF treatment.
More welcome news and discoveries in PF are expected in 2017, and Pulmonary Fibrosis News will be here to report on all of them. We wish all our readers a happy 2017, hopefully closer to a world without PF.