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New Treatment Using Inhaled Interferon May Improve Lung Function In Pulmonary Fibrosis

March 1, 2012

Inhaled interferon-gamma may be an effective treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a chronic and progressive form of lung disease caused by excessive formation of fibrotic, or scar tissue, in the lungs, according to an article published in Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery (http://www.liebertpub.com/jamp), a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (http://www.liebertpub.com) The article on inhaled interferon-gamma (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jamp.2011.0919) is available free online at the Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery website.

Normally, systemic delivery of interferon-gamma can cause substantial side effects; however, delivery of aerosolized interferon-gamma directly into the lungs was shown to be safe and was associated with significantly reduced levels of profibrotic regulatory proteins. Keith Diaz, MD, Shibu Skaria, MD, Keith Harris, MD, Mario Solomita, DO, Stephanie Lau, MD, Kristy Bauer, MD, Gerald Smaldone, MD, PhD, and Rany Condos, MD, State University of New York, Stony Brook and New York University School of Medicine, NYC, show that inhalation of interferon-gamma in aerosol form three times a week for at least 80 weeks was well-tolerated by patients, with no systemic side effects.

The authors verified the presence of the drug in the material collected on lung washes and documented no change in the level of interferon-gamma in the blood during the treatment period. The report shows the results of pulmonary function tests, including forced vital capacity (FVC) and total lung capacity (TLC), and the effects of treatment on a six-minute walk test in the article entitled “Delivery and Safety of Inhaled Interferon-gamma in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.” (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jamp.2011.0919)

“There is no treatment for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a disease usually fatal within 3-5 years,” says Gerald C. Smaldone, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal and a coauthor of this article, and Professor and Chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at SUNY-Stony Brook. “The scientific community expected the injected form of interferon-gamma to help, but those studies failed. We have shown that inhaled interferon is safe with very high levels in the lungs. Now is the time to repeat the clinical trials with the inhaled form of this therapy.”

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