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The Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences organises several major conferences and symposia each year on topics of interest to pharmaceutical scientists. These symposia are held at different venues throughout the UK.
APS Developing new drugs for respiratory diseases – how can
clinical imaging of the lungs help?

GSK, Stevenage
Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd January 2016

Overview  Programme 

Purpose of meeting
To review the state-of-the-art in respiratory imaging as applied to drug discovery and development. The focus will be on how imaging can be used to benefit all aspects of the drug discovery and development phases and which modalities may suit some aspects, but not others. The overall aim is to define the state of the art regarding clinical imaging of the lungs and how this can be applied to pharmaceutical discovery and medicines optimisation.

At present there is little coordination of imaging with regard to its applications, strengths and weaknesses, best practice, key parameter. As an outline, here are some of the main challenges:

  • Is it satisfactory for everyone to be “doing their own thing”, or could some harmonisation be of real value?
  • There appears to be a distinct lack of early investigative work on target engagement - is anybody working on this or is this something that needs to be addressed?
  • What is the role/value of imaging in drug discovery for both early and late phase assets?
  • Does imaging have a role in long term patient care?
  • Are the benefits of imaging accepted and do they receive regulatory recognition.
  • What are the practical issues (ethical concerns, IP constraints, developing and validating new techniques) that challenge further developments in imaging and wider application?

When developing new drugs for the inhaled route, what needs can be satisfied by imaging modalities – and which require further investment to make it a reality? From a Pharma perspective, imaging may have additive value in decision-making if it can:

  1. Demonstrate pharmacological engagement of the target of interest in the lung (and if possible the distribution of the inhaled dose).
  2. Provide additional information that supports improvement of lung function beyond FEV1 to demonstrate efficacy, so Imaging modalities can demonstrate efficacy in their own right.
  3. Define new image based endpoints e.g. airway volume and correlate with existing endpoints.
  4. Show improved ventilation/perfusion, gas flow, oxygenation in patients post or during therapy that is sustained, so look at vascular performance, density and anatomy and correlate with physiological change.
  5. Can track inflammation (neutrophils, eosinophils, macrophages, T-Cells) or patterns of fibrotic change over time.
  6. Is able to also show deterioration of lung performance as disease progresses or potential detrimental side effects of long term drug use? So imaging can demonstrate both acute drug effects and chronic drug effects, and define how imaging endpoints change with drug action eg vascular MRI changes following administration of a pulmonary vascular vasodilator has not been looked at.
  7. Provide exposure to allow introduction in to clinical practice and hence further validation.

Proposed outcomes
By bringing clinical imaging groups together, it may be possible to recognise the opportunities in emerging imaging developments and apply these to areas of unmet need for the pharmaceutical industry

  1. State of the art publication on how clinical imaging is used today and what it needs to do for the future.
  2. To bring imaging groups closer together and maybe develop a Respiratory Imaging subgroup?
  3. To identify the key gaps from a Pharma perspective and seek to resolve them.
  4. Start to define which imaging techniques are good for which endpoints and therefore which techniques can tackle different mechanisms of drug action.
  5. The possibility of seeking precompetitive funding (through IMI for example) to address gaps.
  6. A source of reference for justifying any particular imaging modality on future studies
Registrations are now closed

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Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences
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