Researchers have abandoned trials on the drug Actimmune as a treatmentfor idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) after patients died while taking partin the study.
IPF is a chronic lung disease, and sufferers often die from severe short-ness of breath. So far, no drug has been developed to treat the condition, and the manufacturers of Actimmune believed that this drug could be the answer. It's a synthetic version of interferon gamma-1b, designed to reduce infections in patients with chronic granulomatous disease, a rare, congenital disorder of the white blood cells.
But when researchers tested Actim-mune on patients with IPF, they found that 14.5 per cent of patients died compared with 12.7 per cent with a placebo (www.fda.gov/cder/drug/InfoSheets/ HCP/interferon_gamma_1bHCP.htm).