How Will New Treatment Make Life With IPF a Little Easier?

What does pulmonary fibrosis, or scarring of the lungs, have to do with blood?

Probably more than I’m aware, because when I first saw that a biopharma company specializing in blood disorders was working on a new treatment for IPF, I was confused.

But when I looked deeper, things started to make a lot of sense.

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It was fascinating. Source:

Treatments currently available for IPF attempt to slow disease progression, or the rate at which scarring develops. What those treatments don’t address are the symptoms IPF patients experience, namely shortness of breath and low blood oxidation (hypoxemia).

And really, hypoxemia is just a link in a greater chain. If the lungs can’t get enough oxygen to the blood, then the blood can’t deliver that oxygen to the tissues and organs where it’s needed. That’s when bad things start to happen, and that’s why Global Blood Therapeutics decided to get involved.

On Monday, July 20, the company announced a Phase 2a study of it’s potential new treatment, currently known as GBT440. The hemoglobin modifier is intended to increase oxygen levels in the blood and allow for greater oxygen delivery to other parts of the body.

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While the basic principle has been established in earlier, animal-centric trials, the Phase 2a trial will evaluate safety of GBT440 in a human population, with a total of 18 IPF patients being enrolled. The study will also look at dosing and how the drug is metabolized. GBT440 is taken orally once a day.

This could be big news for the IPF community.

A drug that increases oxygen saturation of the blood could help relieve some of the day-to-day symptoms of the disease and contribute to a greater quality of life for those living with IPF.

I’m no scientist, but I also wonder what greater oxygenation of the tissues would mean for other conditions that stem from IPF, or the life expectancy of patients.

James Ernest Cassady

James Ernest Cassady

Though "Ernest" is a family name that's been passed down for generations, James truly earned his middle moniker when, at the age of five, he told his mother that "laughing is stupid unless EVERYBODY is happy." Since then, the serious little bastard has been on a mission to highlight the world's shortcomings (and hopefully correct them). In addition to his volunteer work at hospitals and animal shelters, James also enjoys documentaries and the work of William Faulkner. He is originally from Oklahoma.

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