Las Vegas, Nevada (NAPSI) - Those who have emphysema may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief. That’s because alternative ways to treat advanced cases of the condition are being developed.

Emphysema is a progressive, debilitating lung condition affecting nearly 5 million people in the U.S. and 60 million people world- wide. It’s caused by irreversible damage to the delicate tissue of the lung that makes it difficult to breathe. The most commonly pre- scribed therapies for emphysema are bronchodilators (inhalers) and anti-inflammatory drugs, both of which are designed to relax and open the airways.

However, when medications fail to provide relief, emphysema patients have limited, highly invasive options: a major surgical procedure known as LVRS (Lung Volume Reduction Surgery) or a lung transplant. Both are high-risk and rarely performed.

An alternative treatment option that is approved in Europe is now being tested in a clinical trial in the United States. Called the AeriSeal System, manufactured by Aeris Therapeutics, it uses a specialized foam sealant to seal and shrink diseased areas of the lung. This is thought to be a less risky way to reduce lung volume without major surgery. Reducing lung volume leaves more space for healthier parts of the lung to function more effectively, making it easier to breathe. It’s believed this would improve quality of life for those living with more advanced emphysema.

The ASPIRE Clinical Study will involve approximately 300 patients at medical centers in the U.S., Israel and Europe.

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