Patients treated with the Alair device made by Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) showed long-term improvement in controlling their asthma, according to a post-approval study released today at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society in Washington.
The Alair bronchial thermoplasty treatment uses a bronchoscope to deliver radiofrequency energy to reduce the amount of excess smooth muscle tissue in the airways. Boston acquired the technology when it paid $194 million in cash for Asthmatx in 2010, shortly after that company won 510(k) clearance from the FDA for Alair. The deal also included some $250 million in potential milestones through 2019.
The 284-patient PAS2 study showed that patients treated with Alair went from a 77.8% rate of severe exacerbations to 50.6% during the 1st year and 45.4% during the 2nd year. Hospitalizations went from 16% pre-Alair to 14.4% in year 1 and 12.7% in year 2. Emergency room visits also fell, dropping from 29% to 18.3% in the 1st year and 13.5% in the 2nd year of the study.
“The results of the PAS2 study suggest that after a single series of BT procedures, patients experience long-term improvement in their asthma control,” lead author & principal investigator Dr. Geoffrey Chupp, of the Yale School of Medicine, said in prepared remarks. “These results indicate that BT works across the spectrum of severe asthma patients. We believe BT should be more widely considered as a treatment option in patients with poorly controlled severe asthma.
“On average, patients also reduced their inhaled corticosteroid dose and a significant number were able to discontinue maintenance oral corticosteroids,” Chupp added. “BT offers an alternative approach for patients who are inadequately controlled with medications designed to improve the control of their asthma.”
“Bronchial thermoplasty is an established treatment that can transform the lives of people with severe asthma,” endoscopy president Art Butcher said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to working with the healthcare community to ensure that patients with severe asthma have access to this important treatment option.”