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Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is referred to as progressive and chronic interstitial pneumonia without known cause. Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease in which tissue profound in lungs becomes stiff and dense over time. The scar tissue formation is known as fibrosis. As the fibrosis progresses and tissue become darker, lungs can't properly move oxygen into the bloodstream, which result in oxygen deficiency in brain and other organs.
IPF usually affects older adults and middle-aged people and it has no cure till now. The major cause of death in IPF’s patients is respiratory failure. Pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia and lung cancer are the other causes of the death for IPF patient. With the progress in research for IPF, it is now more quickly diagnosed and many drugs are also being discovered for its treatment. This will improve the quality of life of patients and will also increase their lifespan.
Bronchoscopy and surgical lung biopsy are used as testing procedures. In Bronchoscopy, lymphocytosis in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid is absent which is observed for the diagnosis. The best sample for characteristic usual interstitial pneumonia from other idiopathic interstitial pneumonias is surgical lung biopsy. The treatment for IPF as optimal medical cure has yet to be identified. This creates ample growth opportunities for pharmaceutical companies, as there is very low competition due to lack of approved drugs.
Current treatment approaches for IPF include the management and assessment of comorbid conditions per present practice guidelines, including obstructive sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Other strategies for IPF include surgery and pharmacotherapy. This further fuels the demand for the development of therapeutics for IPF treatment.
The IPF pipeline is very strong with a total of 104 drug candidates. Pharma giant such as Asahi Kasei Corporation, Merck & Co., Inc., Biogen Idec and Sanofi SA are involved in the development of the IPF therapeutics.
Some of the key players developing drug candidates for the treatment of IPF are Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Asahi Kasei Corporation and others.
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