Mountain View, CA, May 16, 2007 -- Broncus Technologies, Inc., today announced the start of its EASE (Exhale Airway Stents for Emphysema) Trial to explore an investigational procedure that may offer a new, minimally-invasive treatment option for millions of emphysema sufferers. The study focuses on a procedure called airway bypass that uses drug-eluting stents to reinforce new pathways in the lung for trapped air to escape. This in turn, may relieve severe emphysema symptoms such as shortness of breath.
Leading pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons at medical centers around the world are participating in the EASE Trial to study the safety and effectiveness of airway bypass in people struggling with severe homogenous (or diffuse) emphysema. During the trial, patients are randomized two-to-one to the treatment group (receiving bronchoscopy with placement of the drug-eluting stents) or the control group (undergoing only a bronchoscopy procedure). The trial is underway at 15 leading research institutions with more than 20 patients already randomized. At least 225 patients will be enrolled at up to 45 institutions during the next 12 to 18 months.
Emphysema is a chronic, progressive, and irreversible lung disease characterized by the destruction of lung tissue. The loss of the lungs' natural elasticity and the collapse of airways in the lung combine to make exhalation ineffective, leaving the emphysema sufferer with hyperinflation because they cant get air out of their lungs. Breathing becomes inefficient and patients are always short of breath making even nominal physical activities difficult. The airway bypass procedure creates new pathways in the lung with the intention of reducing the amount of air trapped in the lungs, thereby helping patients breathe easier.
Emphysema afflicts tens of millions of people worldwide with more than 3 million sufferers in the United States. There is no cure for emphysema.