Hundreds of millions of people suffer from serious lung disease. But innovative new approaches for diagnosis and treatment will reduce the human and financial toll.
TAMPA, FL / ACCESSWIRE / August 23, 2016 / CEOCFO Magazine, an independent investment publication that highlights important technologies and companies, today describes five promising new medical technologies for diagnosing, monitoring, and treating lung disease.
Lung diseases take a huge human toll. One condition alone, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is the third leading cause of death around the world. Hundreds of millions more people suffer from asthma, emphysema, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), lung infections, and other illnesses.
But the suffering and financial costs of lung disease have also inspired many new innovations in diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment. Here are five of the most promising:
1) New biomarkers: In the past, doctors fighting COPD and other diseases have been hamstrung by the lack of biological indicators that reveal the extent of the disease and how quickly it is worsening. No longer. One biomarker in particular, called Aα-Val360, appears to accurately measure the severity of COPD and emphysema, offering an effective guide to treatment.
2) Advanced scanners: Researchers are developing far more precise tools for imaging the lungs - and the extent of disease. One promising approach uses specially treated krypton gas to dramatically enhance the image from an MRI, while another generates high-resolution pictures of the actual motion of lung tissue - and the airflow through the lungs - offering a new window into the severity of disease.
3) Mobile sensors: Small mobile devices connected to smartphones are revolutionizing health care by enabling patients to monitor everything from heart rhythms to blood sugar, and even to diagnose many diseases with one Star Trek-like tool. Now the same technology is coming to lung disease. A device named SpiroSmart lets people monitor their lung function by blowing into their smartphones, while a number of smartphone apps and other tools are helping people better manage asthma.
4) New drug regimes: Some diseases have lacked effective drugs. But for IPF, at least, recent clinical trials show that an oral drug, called pirfenidone, which directly affects the biological pathway that leads to scarring of the lungs, is effective in slowing the progression of the disease.
5) Advances in inhaled drug delivery: Often, the best way to fight COPD, asthma, and other lung diseases is to inhale drugs into the lungs where they are most needed. But most existing inhaled drug delivery approaches have limitations in the amount of drug they can efficiently deliver. The main problem: much of the drug typically gets stuck in the throat before it gets to the lungs, causing side effects and limiting effectiveness. But scientists now have been able to engineer dry powders that 'fly' much more easily into patients' airways, while delivering virtually any type of drug. One of the first drug candidates using this innovative delivery technology is an inhaled drug for COPD being developed by Pulmatrix, Inc. (PULM) and its collaborator, pharmaceutical giant Mylan. Clinical trials show that the drug, called PUR0200, can use a dose of the active drug that's 80% lower than that of the current standard of care and achieve similar benefits.
SOURCE: CEOCFO Magazine