Eighteen patients were enrolled in a pilot study of the use of interferon lozenges in the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) at Texas Tech University, according to a press release by Amarillo Biosciences Inc, Amarillo Texas.

Lorenz Lutherer, MD, PhD, reported that more than half of his patients treated for at least one year showed no signs of disease progression as assessed by pulmonary-function testing and high-resolution CT scans of their lungs.

The fact that half of the patients have shown no progression of the disease during interferon lozenge treatment is encouraging since in most cases IPF is rapidly progressive. These clinical results are being submitted for publication to a major medical journal.

However, the most surprising observation from the IPF research is that low-dose oral interferon relieves chronic coughing in patients with IPF. Since chronic coughing is a major problem in COPD, a Phase 2 clinical study of oral interferon treatment of chronic cough in COPD will begin in September 2007.