Breathing new life into lung disease treatment
21 November 2012
A group of scientists in Scotland is now hoping that its novel approach to detecting inhibitors will enable it to develop a new treatment for Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which would minimise the side effects associated with current therapies.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is currently the fourth most common cause of death in the world, and is predicted to become the third biggest global killer by 2030.
The demand for treatment, along with the number of new cases, is growing. The market sector is expected to reach US $13 billion per year by 2020.
"COPD is a lung disease that makes it very difficult to breathe," explains Julia Adam, scientific consultant and research team member. "It is very common among smokers and people who have been exposed to air pollution, and usually involves a combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is a very unpleasant and progressive disease."
"Unfortunately the only disease-modifying treatment currently available has some severe side effects, including nausea, which make it very unpleasant to use. What we have discovered is a novel way of selectively inhibiting an enzyme which drives the inflammation in the lungs and which has, up until now, been difficult to differentiate from the slightly different forms of the enzyme in other parts of the body."
"We believe that this could allow us to develop a disease-modifying drug which would be applicable to a wide range of COPD patients."
The Proof of Concept funding will allow the academic team to recruit a commercial champion to drive the project forward into a high-growth company.
"At the moment we have a very experienced drug discovery team with a successful track record of developing new therapies" adds Julia. "This funding will allow us to recruit someone with experience of starting up a biotech company and raising funding.
"It will also allow us to build an intellectual property portfolio and to speak to customers, potential industry partners and clinicians to ensure that we’re developing the best possible product."