Sunday, June 16, 2024
HomeWellnessDrugs and MedicationsUsing statins to treat harsh lung disease shows promise

Using statins to treat harsh lung disease shows promise

A group of researchers in the U.S. applied statins as a pharmacotherapy to treat patients with a rare lung disease called pulmonary alveolar proteinosis.

Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) is a rare lung disease. About seven individuals out of every ten million people have this lung disease, according to the PAP Foundation. People between the ages of 30 and 50 are more likely to develop the condition, and men are at higher risk than women.

Causes and symptoms of PAP

PAP occurs when surfactant builds up and clogs the tiny air sacs of the lungs. Surfactants are natural substances present in small amounts to help air sacs stay open. In PVP, however, surfactant build-up blocks air from entering air sacs. This prevents oxygen from passing through into the blood and causes a feeling of breathlessness that worsens over time.

PAP is primarily caused by the reduction of stimulating factors that are needed for enabling surfactant clearance and maturation in the lungs. Signs and symptoms of the lung disease may include shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, fever, and weight loss.

Whole lung lavage is currently the standard first-line treatment

Currently, whole lung lavage remains the standard first-line treatment for primary PAP. This is a medical procedure done under general anesthesia in which excess surfactant is washed out of the lung with salt water. It has to be repeated every time the lungs clog up, causing the patients very much pain.

Statins as a pharmacotherapy to treat PAP

In a recent study published in Nature Communications, a group of researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in Ohio, United States, developed statins that can reduce cholesterol accumulation in air sacs and improve PAP condition.

The researchers tested their concept in a 58-year-old woman with severe PAP who responded poorly to traditional lung washing therapies. After receiving the statin treatment for six months, the patient has experienced a dramatic improvement in difficulty breathing and elimination of her oxygen concentrator. More surprisingly, the PAP-induced surfactant accumulations have completely resolved after receiving three and a half years of statin therapy. The patent is now no longer required any whole lung lavage therapy in treating her PVP.

This exciting study opens new doors to reshape the future therapy for PAP lung disease. The findings have high potentials in leading to a clinical trial to test the statin therapy in larger numbers of people suffering from PAP.

Written by Man-tik Choy, PhD

Reference: McCarthy C. et al. Statin as a novel pharmacotherapy of pulmonary alveolar proteinosis. Nature Communication. 2018;9:3127. DOI 10.1038/s41467-018-05491-z.

Man-tik Choy PhD
Man-tik Choy PhD
Man-Tik has a Ph.D. in Material Science and Engineering from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research focuses on pharmaceutical sciences, biomaterial design and development, and advanced manufacturing technologies. Man-Tik has developed a strong interest in knowledge discovery and sharing through his practical training in different joint research projects. He is excited to contribute to Medical News Bulletin and help the public to understand science more effectively. In his free time, Man-Tik enjoys reading novels and painting.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News and Articles


Stay Connected

Article of the month

Vitamin D as an Anti Colorectal Cancer Agent in 2024 – a Review of the Evidence

Vitamin D has a protective effect against colorectal cancer, but it is patient and population dependent.According to the WHO, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the...

Joke Of The Day

Dr. Johnson asks his patient, "Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?" The patient replies, "Give me the good news." Dr. Johnson...


error: Content is read-only and copy-protected.