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Spotlight

Chiesi: Less Invasive Tech Defeats Old Enemy

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 10:11

Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) is a breathing disorder that affects mainly premature infants, which leads to breathing problems and often deficiency of pulmonary surfactant that does not permit the expansion of the alveoli for proper gas exchange. Delays in treating it can cause severe damage mainly to the lungs or the brain.
RDS was a death sentence 50 years ago as there was neither technology nor medicines to treat it. In the 1980s,Tore Curstedt and Bengt Robertson developed a natural drug composed of porcine lung phospholipids for premature infants named CUROSURF. This medicine quickly expanded across the globe thanks to Chiesi’s involvement. Neonatal mortality was greatly lowered through the development of a technique to reduce damage caused by providing the newborn with endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation, which Chiesi has also incorporated in its solutions. This technique is called INtubation-SURfactant-Extubation (INSURE).
INSURE’s success sparked interest to renew non-invasive techniques to administer surfactant, such as the development of very thin endotracheal catheters to reduce damage to the airway. This led to the development of less invasive surfactant administration (LISA) and minimally invasive surfactant therapy (MIST) techniques, which together have greatly contributed to decreasing premature infant mortality. This has also been supported by the use of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
Research continues on surfactants’ physiology and on the development of new management and application techniques that reduce the impact on the newborn. These include the development of new fogging devices, such as perforated vibratory membranes that can atomize surfactants and deliver them by nebulization, greatly improving the application of the nebulized aerosol, providing greater control of droplet size and reducing side effects. The ultimate objective is to develop truly non-invasive techniques. Initial studies of these procedures in newborns have decreased the need for intubation and surfactant re-dosing by up to 50 percent.
Founded in 1935, Chiesi is an Italian company that specializes in the research, development and production of medicines for respiratory, neonatological and cardiovascular diseases. It now distributes its products in more than 80 countries and entered Mexico in 2006 with CUROSURF, a treatment for RDS.