Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Penn to test new thermal energy procedure to reduce asthmatic symptoms


New procedure may revolutionize traditional asthma care by lessening smooth muscle tissue in the airway

Up until now, if you suffer from asthma, medication has been the only treatment available to you for relief. But now, clinical researchers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) hope to open up a new avenue to alleviate the debilitating symptoms of asthma - through an investigative bronchoscopic procedure where the smooth muscle of the airway, which causes the spasm, is reduced using thermal energy.

"Even though the smooth muscle in your airway serves no identifiable purpose, when something does go wrong with it, it can cause problems," explains Ali Musani, MD, an interventional pulmonologist at Penn and principal investigator of the study. "It can constrict, tighten, and narrow the airway considerably -- causing real health consequences for asthmatics."

Interventional pulmonologists will explore, for the first time in the United States, a new way to treat asthma. Physicians will actually go into the airways with a bronchoscope, which is a routine procedure, and by generating and applying thermal energy, will reduce areas of underlying smooth muscle in the small to medium size airways with a new medical device. The Alair® System - which is manufactured by Asthmatx, Inc. - consists of a single-use device and a controller that delivers thermal energy to the bronchial wall during an outpatient bronchoscopic procedure known as Bronchial Thermoplasty.

The system, which has an expandable wire basket at the tip, consists of four arms that come in contact with and fit snugly against the airway wall. The expanded basket then delivers controlled radio frequency energy for about 10 seconds to heat the airway smooth muscle. Once the treatment session is completed, the device and the bronchoscope are removed. The controlled heat is designed to reduce the amount of airway smooth muscle in the airway wall, thus reducing the ability of the airway walls to contract and narrow and spasm in response to irritation, infection or inflammation.

"This is a minimally invasive procedure performed in a bronchoscopy suite," says Maureen George, PhD, RN, AE-C, Coordinator, Comprehensive Asthma Care Program in the Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Division at HUP. "The procedure itself takes only about an hour to complete and no general anesthesia is used. This is done on an outpatient basis as a bronchoscopic procedure, with conscious sedation (in which a tube is placed through the mouth or nose and positioned into the lungs). There is no incision and no need to stay overnight."

During the clinical trial, physicians will treat one-third of the lungs in each treatment period for three treatment sessions total. Also, patients who are currently highly medicated will stay on their medication for the duration of the study.

In this country, severe asthmatics are a major health problem. It’s predicted that 40-50% of adults suffer from asthma leading to lost days at work. Asthma is a common disease in which the airways in the lung become inflamed, excess airway mucus is produced, and airways narrow when muscles within the airway walls contract. Asthma affects more than 20 million people in the U.S.

"There’s no expectation that this new procedure will cure asthma but we’re hopeful it will be useful in reducing the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms and help to improve the quality of life for asthma sufferers," comments Musani.

Penn researchers have received approval to begin the AIR 2 (Asthma Interventional Research) clinical trial and are now enrolling patients. If you have asthma, are between 18 and 65 years of age, and are a non-smoker, you may be eligible to participate in this study. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is the only site involved in this trial in the state and will eventually be one of 20 sites nationally.

Susanne Hartman | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>