The phone call came in early October, 2011. “You could sense the tone of it right away,” recalls pulmonologist Imre Noth, MD, who runs one of the country’s largest practices for patients with pulmonary fibrosis. “There was just something about the voice on the line.”
The conference call came from the data and safety monitoring board for PANTHER-IPF, a multi-center, placebo-controlled clinical trial designed to evaluate the merits of three-drug therapy to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The combination had long been in use, but never so rigorously tested. An earlier trial had found that the three drugs – azathioprine, prednisone and N-acetylcysteine – might be better than two drugs, azathioprine and prednisone, but the result was unconvincing and the matter remained controversial. PANTHER was launched to settle the issue. It did so in half the allotted time.
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