Tor 23 maj / År 42 / Nr 1 2024

New treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

PharmaLundensis AB (publ) is a biotech company located at Medicon Village in Lund, Sweden. The company’s aim is to develop new and creative treatments for diseases that today lack effective drugs, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

PharmaLundensis founder Dr Staffan Skogvall has demonstrated that the contraction of small airways (which are mainly affected in COPD) is controlled by an Epithelium Derived Relaxing Factor (EpDRF) from so-called neuroepithelial endocrine (NEE) cells in the airway epithelium. The release of the EpDRF is controlled by the intracellular concentration of the reactive oxygen species hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). A higher concentration of H2O2 inhibits the release of EpDRF, resulting in severe bronchoconstriction.

Clinical studies under way
COPD is usually caused by cigarette smoke. This contains hundreds of hazardous substances including the heavy metal mercury, which is known to increase the intracellular concentration of H2O2. According to our hypothesis, mercury from the cigarette smoke inhibits the release of EpDRF from the NEE cells, which leads to irreversible obstruction of the small airways and COPD. Furthermore, by removing mercury from the airways, it may be possible to improve the health of COPD patients.
PharmaLundensis is at present performing a “Proof of concept” clinical study with a mercury-binding substance (IodoCarb®) which is given to 40 patients with moderately severe COPD in a Phase 1 + 2a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. The results from this study will be presented during spring 2013. A good result can lead to the first effective drug for COPD.
PharmaLundensis also performs a clinical trial where patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/NE) are treated with IodoCarb®. “This is a double-blind study as well, and it is planned to be completed during autumn 2013. We also plan to test IodoCarb® on other diseases”, Dr Skogvall reveals.