Two University of Arizona investigators were awarded a two-year, $415,491 grant to develop an aerosolized version of an oral drug approved to treat multiple sclerosis and evaluate its effectiveness for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an advanced lung disease affecting older people.
Louise Hecker, PhD, and Heidi Mansour, PhD, received the funding from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a unit of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The two UA researchers will examine efficacy and safety of oral-versus-inhaled administration of new antioxidant formulations of the drug, designed specifically for IPF. IPF is a disease of aging, with a mean age at diagnosis of 66 for victims. It involves progressive fibrosis, or “scarring,” that leads to stiffening and thickening of tissue deep in a person’s lungs over time. The investigators hope the inhaled version of the drug, targeted directly to the lung regions affected by IPF patients, will prove safer and more effective for a critical lung disease with unmet medical needs.