Dr. Ina Rudloff
The more premature a baby at birth, the less developed is its lung and the higher its risk to develop bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), which is a severe inflammatory disease that inhibits proper lung maturation. Affected babies suffer from life-long severe complications such as impaired neurodevelopment and are highly susceptible to airway infections that can even lead to death. An effective and safe therapy for BPD does not exist yet. In a previous study we found that the anti-inflammatory interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) can prevent the development of BPD in a murine disease model. Now we refined our initial treatment strategy and discovered that in order to achieve maximum benefit, IL-1Ra must be administered prophylactically, that is before BPD is established. Moreover, we discovered that protein C, another anti-inflammatory drug, inhibits BPD development by exerting its effects on downstream mediators that differ from those utilised by IL-1Ra.
The Ritchie Centre
Interventional Immunology in Neonatal Diseases and Beyond
Journal and article title
A key implication of our study is that in order to be most efficient, IL-1Ra needs to be administered prophylactically to babies that are at highest risk of developing BPD. Moreover, we discovered that low-dose IL-1Ra is more effective in inhibiting BPD than high-dose IL-1Ra.
Given their excellent safety profiles in adults, children and neonates, IL-1Ra alone or in combination with protein C could become the first, much needed remedy for bronchopulmonary dysplasia.