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Kenny Walter is an editor with HCPLive. Prior to joining MJH Life Sciences in 2019, he worked as a digital reporter covering nanotechnology, life sciences, material science and more with R&D Magazine. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Temple University in 2008 and began his career as a local reporter for a chain of weekly newspapers based on the Jersey shore. When not working, he enjoys going to the beach and enjoying the shore in the summer and watching North Carolina Tar Heel basketball in the winter.
MYMD-1 targets the root cause of inflammation for patients with IPF.
While idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the most common type of pulmonary fibrosis, it’s still considered a rare disease in need of new treatments.
However, researchers are preparing to study a new treatment, MyMD-1, that has the opportunity to tackle some of the common symptoms and issues IPF patients face.
In honor of Rare Disease Day, Chris Chapman, M.D., President and Chief Medical Officer of MyMD Pharmaceuticals, explained in an interview with HCPLive® how the treatment will help this patient population and what some of the challenges IPF patients face.
HCPLive: Can you describe the treatment you are studying for IPF?
Chapman: For IPF, our product, MyMD-1, targets the root causes of inflammation and it is a selected inhibitor of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, a driver of chronic inflammation. MyMd-1 is positioned to be a novel anti-fibrotic agent. The basic science of the disease model with IPF suggests that it’s a fibrotic and inflammatory disease. And if you can target the disease with a combination of anti-fibrotic products and anti-inflammatory products, you have a better chance of helping those patients with chronic illnesses.
We did some artificial intelligence phenotypic analysis researching normal primary cells from healthy donors and the relationship of MyMD-1 and similar structures of products approved for IPF. The overall pattern of MyMD-1 was an anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory response. MyMD-1 demonstrated antiproliferative and decreased matrix-related molecules in lung fibroblast cells.
The data shows that MyMD-1 had significant activity compared to pirfenidone and nintedanib two approved products on the market for IPF. Those two products are anti-fibrotic, and they affect the collagen in wound healing response when wound healing is out of control. MyMD-1 is a tumor necrosis inhibitor, anti-inflammatory and immunometabolic regulator. This is the phenotypic approach where the products on the market treat the fibrosis and MyMD-1 treats both the chronic inflammation and fibrosis which could provide a powerful clinical outcome for IPF patients.
HCPLive: How important is it for patients with a rare disease like IPF to have multiple treatment options with new drugs coming on the market in case they aren’t responding to the existing stable of drugs?
Chapman: Well, it’s very important because if you watch the disease of IPF for years, the prevalence is about 100,000, but if you are a patient with it, and you’ve been taking these medications that have different side effects, there’s no really good treatment. The data shows the two products on the market are anti-fibrotic, and they affect the collagen in wound healing response when it is out of control. MyMD-1 is a tumor necrosis inhibitor, anti-inflammatory and immunometabolic regulator. We think it's a great opportunity for our company to take a look at the products targeting the disease in the world to determine if MyMD-1can provide a sense of consistency against these fibrotic diseases.
HCPLive: What are some of the challenges IPF patients face and how would this treatment improve their symptoms and overall quality of life?
Chapman: One of the issues with IPF is the chronic inflammatory process. We understand the fibrosis part, which is wound healing gone array. This leads to tremendous scarring of the lung tissue, clogging of pores, inflammation, and collagen matrix deposition and remodeling of lung tissue. The fibrosis and chronic inflammation results in significant damage to tissues as it progresses over the years.
Elevated levels of cytokines including tumor necrosis factor-alpha can lead to prolonged chronic inflammation which is closely linked to cardiovascular disease. MyMD-1 treats the underlying cause of the disease rather than just the symptoms.
HCPLive: How important is it for researchers to conduct clinical trials for rare diseases to potentially learn both whether or not a specific drug is safe and effective, but also to potentially learn more about the disease itself that could down the road lead to better treatments as well?
Chapman: I think that you have to give credit to those pharmaceutical companies that specialize in clinical research for rare diseases. In the rare diseases, we entitle them Orphan Designationwhich is a regulatory term on how governmental agencies use to classify these cases with low prevalence., This allows researchers to expand the platform and study etiologies and comorbidities associated with rare diseases. This is a powerful tool for possible management and treatment of these diseases.
HCPLive: How important is it to dedicate an entire day of advocacy for rare diseases like Rare Disease Day?
Chapman: Promoting an entire day of advocacy for rare diseases gives these young patients, young kids, and adults, feeling and hope that although they are in a population of limited prevalence of the disease, they command the utmost respect and dedication from healthcare professionals and researchers around the world. The thought that this type of research could help target these illnesses, and the kids and families may have a sense of optimism that promising novel products may enter the market that help provide a more sustained and better quality of life.
And I just think that it's so important to have a day, that everyone would understand Rare Disease Day and realize that research institutions are working just as hard for a variety of solutions against rare diseases and their complexities around the world. I think it's extremely important for everybody to feel good about what we’re going to do together.