The Martinos Center and the Institute for Innovation in Imaging Support Clinical Trial of Drug for Patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Martinos News

Researchers from the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, the Martinos Center, and the Institute for Innovation in Imaging (i3) at Massachusetts General Hospital recently completed a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of bexotegrast (PLN-74809), a drug developed by Pliant Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). IPF is a disease characterized by excessive collagen deposition in the lung.

The results of the trial were promising. Bexotegrast-treated patients showed reduced total lung collagen post treatment as measured by positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, compared to increased total lung collagen in the placebo group, suggesting potential reversal of fibrosis. The patients also showed improvements in forced vital capacity (FVC) and reduced cough severity across all timepoints compared to placebo. Bexotegrast 160 mg was well tolerated over 12 weeks with no drug-related serious adverse events (SAEs) and no discontinuations.

In addition to supporting the efficacy of the drug, the trial underscored the capabilities of one of the technologies used in the trial: collagen PET imaging. “Results from this first study using collagen PET imaging to assess a therapeutic intervention highlight the possible utilization of this novel technology to identify potentially disease-modifying antifibrotic IPF therapies in short-term studies,” said Sydney Montesi, MD, a clinician-researcher in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Mass General and principal investigator in the trial.

Dr. Montesi led the overall study. The collagen-targeted probe used in the research, 68Ga-CBP8, was invented in the Martinos-based lab of Peter Caravan, PhD. The i3 manufactured the probe for the clinical trial imaging studies. The imaging was completed at the Center using a Siemens Biograph mMR simultaneous PET-MRI scanner. Image analysis was performed by Iris Zhou, PhD, Nikolaos Efthymiou, PhD, and Ciprian Catana, MD, PhD.

Read more and see results from the study in the original news release.