First U.S. Patients Receive Targeted Lung Denervation Therapy at Temple

AIRFLOW-3 international clinical trial

By Gerard J. Criner, MD, FACP, FACCP

A Temple team provided targeted lung denervation to the first three U.S. patients in the AIRFLOW-3 international clinical trial.

Temple introduced a new experimental COPD treatment to the United States in June, completing targeted lung denervation (TLD) procedures on three patients. Gerard J. Criner, MD, FACP, FACCP, Lung Center Director, Chair and Professor of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, headed the team that treated the first three U.S. patients as part of the AIRFLOW-3 international clinical trial. AIRFLOW-3 is the first interventional COPD trial with a primary end goal to reduce COPD exacerbations. This Phase III trial is currently enrolling at the Temple Lung Center.

The third-leading cause of death worldwide, COPD is characterized by chronic and progressive airflow limitation, and affects approximately 29 million people in the United States. Current COPD treatment focuses largely on anticholinergic medications, which prevent the binding of acetylcholine to airway receptors and thereby reduce the lungs’ inflammatory response to viral and bacterial infections, environmental irritants, toxins and allergens that would otherwise result in symptom exacerbation.

Patients with airway hyper-responsiveness, however, may continue to experience frequent exacerbations despite anticholinergic drugs, as neurons release excessive levels of acetylcholine in response to even minor stimuli. The goal of TLD—developed by NuvairaTM—is to interrupt this cycle of nerve signaling by ablating the pulmonary nerves at the level of the bronchus, leading to reduced release of acetylcholine and reduced hyper-reactivity. In addition to its potentially greater efficacy for patients with airway hyper-responsiveness, TLD is a one-time bronchoscopic procedure, which patients may prefer over anticholinergic drugs that must be taken every day.

To discuss enrolling a patient in the AIRFLOW-3 trial, contact 215-707-1359 or breathe@temple.edu.