Radiopharmaceutical company Cyclopharm (ASX: CYC) has received an operational boost with its flagship Technegas product named as the focus of a new clinical trial costing around A$387,000 seeking to develop better tools to diagnose and manage patients suffering from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) rates COPD as the 4th leading cause of death globally and is expected to rise to become the 3rd leading cause of death by 2030.
Technegas is primarily used for functional lung ventilation imaging that’s aimed at improving diagnoses of various lung diseases including asthma and pulmonary hypertension.
The technology works with patients inhaling ultra-fine radioactive carbon particles, but that can be detected by a single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) camera.
The resulting imagery provides physicians with unprecedented detail regarding the patients’ lung condition thereby improving the level of care that can be made available.
The clinical trial will see Cyclopharm working with the Woolcock Institute for Medical Research on a 3-year, a 100-patient study utilising nuclear medicine imaging, in collaboration with The University of Sydney and the Northern Sydney Local Health District.
“To develop personalised treatments, clinicians need to have better diagnostic tools, such as using Technegas in the measurement of respiratory functionality and heterogeneity,” said James McBrayer, CEO and managing director of Cyclopharm.
From old roadblocks to new treatments
The rationale of the study is to improve upon the currently accepted practice of using “spirometry”, a rudimentary test used to assess lung capacity and air flow rates, to determine respiratory health and diagnose illnesses.
There are several “universally recognised” limitations with this methodology says Cyclopharm with its Technegas product able to introduce a far greater quality of imaging and diagnosis outcome.
“Respiratory function is predominantly measured by spirometry which has limitations that are universally recognised. Despite its wide acceptance as the gold standard, spirometry is neither sensitive nor specific in diagnosing airways disease and is insensitive to treatment responses. Spirometry is an overall measure of lung function, but it fails to measure the underlying complexity of pathophysiology in disease,” said Professor Greg King from Sydney University and medical director of the Respiratory Investigation Unit at the Sydney Medical School.
Professor King is also confident that the upcoming clinical trial can help the medical community overcome the current “roadblock” facing researchers in the study of asthma, citing a recent Lancet Commission report that identified the need for innovative ways to study asthma.
“The outcomes of this study will advance the understanding of treatment responses and make a strong case for Technegas VSPECT imaging to be used as an important tool in the development of new Asthma and COPD treatment regimes, disease characterisation in routine practice and monitor the success and progress of treatment,” said Professor King.
Professor Carol Armour, the executive director of The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, said that “the Woolcock Institute is committed to developing targeted, more effective treatment in airways diseases. We are very excited to embark on this work with Cyclopharm using 3-Dimensional imaging of ventilation in airways disease as it could lead to greater understanding of these conditions and from there to more effective treatments.”