PFF Partners With Industry to Develop Individualized PF Treatment Strategies

David Melamed, PhD avatar

by David Melamed, PhD |

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The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) and Celgene, a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb, are leading a collaboration with the long-term goal of streamlining the development of targeted treatment strategies for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and the identification of disease biomarkers.

In the majority of cases, the cause of pulmonary fibrosis is idiopathic, which is a blanket term used to define a condition that has no known cause. There are a number of treatment options known to improve the quality of life in IPF patients, including approved medications, treatments to improve respiratory functionality, and other, complementary approaches.

Choosing the right course of treatment, however, is difficult to determine on an individual basis.

The goal of the group, called PROLIFIC (Prognostic Lung Fibrosis Consortium), is to develop a method for predicting the best course of treatment in individual IPF patients, allowing physicians to better tailor personalized therapeutic plans.

PROLIFIC members include Biogen, Genentech, Lung Therapeutics, OptiKira, Pliant Therapeutics, and Respivant Sciences. PROLIFIC will also invite biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions to apply for membership.

“The PROLIFIC collaboration is an example of the innovative and intensive research underway by the PFF and industry partners to identify additional therapies for pulmonary fibrosis,” Gregory P. Cosgrove, MD, chief medical officer of the PFF, said in a press release.

To reach its goal, the consortium selected 12 specific biomarkers related to known symptoms of IPF, including damage to the lining of the lungs, formation of excess fibrous tissue (fibrosis), inflammation, and the formation of blood clots (thrombosis).

The 12 biomarkers were chosen based on published scientific studies that demonstrated that they may be useful in providing a prognosis for IPF, for predicting the effectiveness of medications in IPF patients, and for comparing biological responses with different treatments.

A single test for the 12 biomarkers, called a multiplex biomarker assay, is currently being developed by Myriad RBM.

PROLIFIC will analyze patient data from the PFF Patient Registry and Biorepository — a collection of samples from more than 2,000 patients with pulmonary fibrosis. The goal is to validate the 12 biomarkers chosen for the test, and to identify new potential biomarkers.

The consortium will also collect data regarding patient symptoms, demographics, and social traits to create a baseline, and look at changes over time to characterize any proteins being affected by the disease.

With the development of the 12-biomarker test and analysis of extensive patient data, PROLIFIC intends to collaborate with health authorities worldwide with the overarching goal of creating individualized treatment plans for IPF patients.

“Biomarker research plays a fundamental role in our precision medicine approach to treating some of the most challenging diseases,” said Saurabh Saha, MD, PhD, senior vice president of translational medicine at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

“Through the PROLIFIC consortium, we are collaborating with industry leaders to advance the application of prognostic blood biomarkers to clinical trials in IPF and other interstitial lung diseases to help put translational discoveries into clinical practice,” Saha said.