Pfizer Gets FDA-Approval For The Treatment Of Rare Progressive Lung Disease

Pfizer has announced  that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved RAPAMUNE® (sirolimus) for the treatment of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a rare, progressive disease that affects the lungs, kidneys and the lymphatic system

This is the first approved treatment that helps stabilize lung function in patients with LAM.

Pfizer“Pfizer is proud to gain approval for RAPAMUNE as the first treatment for patients with LAM, through our work with the FDA, the clinical investigation team and the LAM Foundation,” said Rory O’Connor, MD, senior vice president and head of Global Medical Affairs, Global Innovative Pharmaceuticals Business, Pfizer Inc.

“This type of cooperative effort creates opportunities for innovation in developing therapies for patients with rare diseases,” he noted.

According to the company, LAM is a rare progressive lung disease that usually affects women during their childbearing years and can result in abnormal growth of smooth muscle cells in the lung. Over time, the muscle growth can cause airway obstructions and limit the delivery of oxygen to the body.

The company also noted that approximately 800 patients in the U.S. are currently diagnosed with LAM, which is a rare disease and is often fatal. RAPAMUNE is also approved in the U.S. as an immunosuppressive agent for the prophylaxis of organ rejection in kidney transplant patients aged 13 years and older.

The company explained that the FDA approval is based on the results from the Multicenter International Lymphangioleiomyomatosis Efficacy of Sirolimus or MILES Trial. The MILES Trial included 89 LAM patients with moderate lung impairment and showed that those treated with RAPAMUNE for one year experienced stabilization of lung function measured by forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). The adverse drug reactions observed in this trial were consistent with the known safety profile for renal transplant patients receiving RAPAMUNE, with the addition of weight decreased, which was reported at a greater incidence with RAPAMUNE versus placebo. Serious adverse events were reported more frequently during the treatment period in patients receiving RAPAMUNE compared to the placebo group.

“I am thrilled for families living with LAM,” said Dr. Francis X. McCormack, director of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and lead investigator of the MILES Trial. “The courage of the women who enrolled in the MILES trial made this possible. I am proud of the 200 investigators, coordinators and nurses who participated in the MILES trial that enabled FDA approval, and I sincerely thank all who supported the study.”

Pfizer worked with the FDA, Dr. McCormack and the LAM Foundation to evaluate RAPAMUNE as a treatment option for LAM in the United States. The MILES trial was conducted by Dr. McCormack and conducted within the National Institutes of Health Rare Lung Diseases Consortium. Pfizer provided study drug and a portion of the funding but had no involvement in the design or conduct of the study. The LAM Foundation assisted with the recruitment of patients and logistics for the study.

“This approval is a landmark breakthrough for LAM patients to have access to this important treatment option,” said Susan E. Sherman, executive director of the LAM Foundation. “It is the result of decades of work by researchers and women of the LAM community who volunteered for this pivotal clinical trial.”

Davy Desmond, Readers Bureau, Fellow

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