CINCINNATI—University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers are creating broader treatment options for patients living with pulmonary hypertension.
Jean Elwing, MD, and colleagues are enrolling pulmonary hypertension patients in an open-label clinical trial.
Elwing says the study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of Ambrisentan, a drug that blocks endothelin, a substance that is often elevated in the lungs of patients with pulmonary hypertension.
“This drug may improve blood flow in the lungs which helps the patient function better,” says Elwing, a pulmonologist in the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the UC College of Medicine.
Pulmonary hypertension is a blood vessel disorder of the lungs in which pressure in the pulmonary artery, the blood vessel that leads from the heart to the lungs, rises above normal levels.
People living with the life-threatening disease often have difficulty engaging in everyday, low-exertion activities, such as walking short distances.
Elwing says Ambrisentan has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for patients suffering from pulmonary arterial hypertension.
“There are many different causes of pulmonary hypertension,” she says. “Studies have shown that this drug helps patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension which can occur spontaneously or as a result of illnesses such as scleroderma, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
“We want to assess the effects of Ambrisentan on those who develop the illness due to other causes, including chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).”
However, Elwing adds that patients who experience pulmonary hypertension due to left heart failure cannot be involved in this clinical trial.
Elwing says patients will be followed closely during the study and will receive frequent checkups.
“We will use exercise to determine response to therapy but will also take normal, everyday function and blood work into consideration,” she says. “Our hope is to expand treatment options and improve quality of life for patients living with many forms of pulmonary hypertension.”
Elwing has no financial interest in Gilead Sciences Inc., sponsor of the study.