Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that results in airflow obstruction, leading to coughing, shortness of breath, and cachexia. It is terminal, and current treatments are cumbersome, ineffective, and expensive. With over 250 million cases and 3 million deaths globally, there is a large market for COPD treatments.
The development of COPD occurs over many years and therefore affects mainly middle-aged and older people while asthma affects people of all ages. The prevalence of COPD increases with age, mostly occurring in people aged 45 and over. In the 2017–18 ABS National Health Survey (NHS), the prevalence of COPD (captured here as self-reported emphysema and/or bronchitis) in Australians aged 45 and over was 4.8%, or an estimated 464,000 people (ABS 2018).
Phase one trials on COPD patients have been completed using StemSmart™ technology, showing a decrease in the rate of exacerbations – incidents in which COPD symptoms ‘flare up’, and confirming the safety of the treatment.
Chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD) encompasses a range of pathologies that cause a transplanted lung to not achieve or maintain normal function. CLAD manifests as airflow restriction and/or obstruction and is predominantly a result of chronic rejection. Three distinct phenotypes of chronic rejection are now recognized: bronchiolitis obliterans, neutrophilic reversible allograft dysfunction, and restrictive allograft syndrome
Despite advances in lung transplantation, the median survival remains only 55% at 5 years. The primary cause of death is chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD), occurring in 43% of recipients at 5 years. In approximately 30% of cases, chronic lung allograft dysfunction has a restrictive phenotype (RCLAD) characterized by fibrosis with rapid progression to respiratory failure. Approximately 60% of patients with RCLAD die within one year, as currently there are no therapies available.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is an inflammatory process leading to a build-up of fluid in the lungs and respiratory failure. It can occur due to infection, trauma, and inhalation of noxious substances. ARDS often affects previously healthy individuals. It accounts for approximately 10% of all ICU admissions and almost 25% of patients requiring mechanical ventilation, and survivors of ARDS are often left with severe long-term illness and disability. ARDS is a frequent complication of patients with COVID-19.
Clinical trials for ARDS have been planned, and it is expected that, due to the inflammatory nature of the condition, our cell therapy will be effective against ARDS.