How to prevent viral infection in cystic fibro patients
Doctors say a new treatment for cystic Fibrosis could be the answer to a decades-long battle for people living with the chronic lung disease.
A drug developed by the American University of Cystic Fibro (AUCF) in collaboration with Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and GlaxoSmithKline, called CysticCystic Fibrosis, or CCFP, could reduce the spread of the disease to more people.
Its been used successfully in clinical trials for cystitis, chronic bronchitis and psoriasis, but experts fear it could be abused by people with chronic lung infections, which can cause lung inflammation.”CCFP can be a life saver for some people,” says Dr David Pemberton, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Birmingham, UK.
“It is a treatment that is not only effective but has great safety profiles.”
The drug was approved in 2016 for people with cystic and other chronic lung diseases, including HIV/AIDS, but was later withdrawn due to concerns about the drug’s effectiveness in those with other conditions.
It has now been approved for cysts in people with asthma, who could potentially benefit from CCFP.
But Dr Pembert warns it could still be abused.
“People with COPD or chronic lung conditions are a very poor patient population, and we don’t have any evidence that the drug is as effective as we thought,” he said.
“The problem with CCFP is that it is not approved for COPD, so it is only available in a limited number of patients with COPE.”
He says the drug will be available in the UK by mid-2018.CCFP has also been used in clinical studies for patients with other chronic conditions including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The drug works by blocking the enzymes that normally break down mucus, so the body doesn’t make it.
“It is very powerful.
It is one of the most powerful drugs I have seen in cystios, it’s got all the properties that people love about CCFP,” said Dr Pembroke.”
If you want to be in remission, it can help you in that area.”
He adds that it can also help those with chronic respiratory diseases.
“We know that it has a very significant effect in the chronic bronchi, and it is very good for people in those conditions who are having chronic obstructives, for instance,” he explained.
“So we know that CCFP could have a very beneficial impact.”
However, Dr Pemsbroke cautioned people with other lung conditions could have some risk of infection, which could mean CCFP might not be effective for them.
“What we would do is do some work to find out whether there are other patients who are not as good at the drug,” he told Al Jazeera.
“In terms of patients in COPD who are in remission and people with COPDs who have COPD but have asthma and COPD with chronic obstructions, then CCFP will be very good.”
The CCFP trial started in 2016 and involved a trial of 14 patients in a study at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, and is now underway in Bristol, Bristol, Manchester and Manchester and Coventry.
“This trial is about providing the best quality evidence for the drug, and there is a lot of information out there to help guide people in making the best choice for themselves,” said Professor Paul McEwan, an asthma specialist at Bristol’s University of Bristol.
“But if you want an answer to the question ‘are there any other treatments that work?’ then CCF is the answer.”
Dr Pemberl says the drugs could prove particularly useful for people who already have cystic lung disease, who may be particularly vulnerable to infection.
“There are a lot more patients in the world who have cysts, they don’t get cystic disease and it’s more common, and that means that we have a larger proportion of people who have chronic obstructies and are at higher risk of being infected,” he added.
“I think that’s an area that we are very interested in.”
But he warned that it would be hard to convince people with these conditions to get CCFP because they would not be given the drug for free.
“You can’t offer a free pill, and you can’t say ‘don’t worry, you will get it for free’.”
But I think that it could potentially be an effective option in some of these populations,” he warned.