Newswise — May is National Asthma Awareness Month, an appropriate time to ponder an illness that affects nearly 25 million Americans and one in every 10 children in the U.S. Although current treatments adequately address the majority of asthma attacks, one group of patients remains underserved. These individuals suffer from “acute exacerbations of asthma” (AEA), long-lasting and severe asthma episodes in which symptoms are unresponsive to initial bronchodilator or corticosteroid therapy. These episodes account for more than 1.5 million annual emergency room visits in the U.S.
Current treatments for AEA include a range of inhaled compounds. Unfortunately, these are limited in effectiveness due to the inflammation and airway constriction that accompanies an asthma attack, which reduces the amount of inhaled drug that can get into the lungs. In addition, the amount of these treatments a patient can tolerate is limited due to the potential for cardiovascular side effects.
Today, however, a San Diego biopharmaceutical company named MediciNova is testing a novel treatment designed to offer relief to the AEA patient population in the Emergency Department. MediciNova’s leading drug candidates include bedoradrine sulfate (MN-221), which is designed to treat AEA via intravenous infusion—bypassing constricted airways to deliver the drug directly to the lungs. Preclinical studies showed MN-221 to produce no worrisome increase in heart rate when MN-221 was administered.
In March 2012, the company announced it had completed enrollment of 176 patients in a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of MN-221 for the treatment of AEA. Preliminary study results from this trial are anticipated this month, May of 2012.
MN-221’s improved delivery to the lungs and its cardiac safety profile may help fill an unmet need for AEA patients, enabling them to breathe more easily and avoid a costly hospital stay.
For more information about MN-221, visit www.medicinova.com.