The blood pressure drug Cozaar (losartan) has been shown to prevent most lung damage caused by smoking in mice according to a new study. Clinical trials are testing Cozaar's effect on humans.This discovery can provide a lot of relief to COPD sufferers.
"Ask you doctor about the latest COPD treatment developments."
The study was led by Enid Neptune, M.D., from Johns Hopkins Medicine. Cozaar was used on mice to determine its effect on inflammation, airway wall thickening, lung tissue breakdown and lung over-expansion, which are common to smokers who have developed COPD.
Cozaar was shown to prevent all lung damage in mice who were exposed to two months worth of cigarette smoke exposure.
This discovery can be especially beneficial because Cozaar is already clinically accepted and used throughout America. If clinical trials show Cozaar to be effective in preventing lung damage in COPD patients, it can be easily administered and used in combination with other COPD therapies.
COPD causes the airway walls to thicken and lose their elasticity because lung tissue is damaged and breaks down. This causes reduced lung function and an excess of mucus causes even greater obstruction.
Cozaar, and similar drugs, could potentially not just help treat COPD but stop further lung damage. Johns Hopkins is already pushing to begin clinical trials in humans to test Cozaar's effects on COPD.
Current COPD treatments only help sufferers by providing relief such as reducing coughing or mucus buildup in the lungs. More drastic treatments, such as surgery, can be performed to remove damaged portions of the lungs or replace the lungs entirely.
Airway wall thickness of untreated mice who were exposed to cigarette smoke had doubled while in mice treated with Cozaar, that damage was cut in half. Additionally there was no over-expansion of the lungs. Inflammation was also decreased in mice who were treated with Cozaar.
The use of Cozaar to potentially treat COPD came about from a study that involved Marfan syndrome, which is a genetic disorder that weakens arteries throughout the body.
Dr. Neptune had previously discovered that a protein, TGF-beta, was elevated in lung tissue samples of COPD and in the lung tissue of mice with Marfan syndrome.
Dr. Neptune is optimistic in the use of Cozaar but also treatments that target TGF-beta. The next step in clinical trials of Cozaar could be the development of treatments that target TGF-beta. This could lead to personalizing COPD treatments which will help tailor COPD treatments to an individual.
This study was published in the January edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.