Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency is a hereditary condition characterized by low alpha 1 proteinase inhibitor (also known as alpha 1 antitrypsin [AAT]) serum levels. Reduced levels of AAT allow abnormal degradation of lung tissue, which may ultimately lead to the development of early-onset emphysema. Intravenous infusion of AAT is the only therapeutic option that can be used to maintain levels above the protective threshold. Based on its biochemical efficacy, AAT replacement therapy was approved by the US Food and Drug administration in 1987. However, there remained considerable interest in selecting appropriate outcome measures that could confirm clinical efficacy in a randomized controlled trial setting. Using computed tomography as the primary measure of decline in lung density, the capacity for intravenously administered AAT replacement therapy to slow and modify the course of disease progression was demonstrated for the first time in the Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial of Augmentation Therapy in Alpha-1 Proteinase Inhibitor Deficiency (RAPID) trial. Following these results, an expert review forum was held at the European Respiratory Society to discuss the findings of the RAPID trial program and how they may change the landscape of alpha 1 antitrypsin emphysema treatment. This review summarizes the results of the RAPID program and the implications for clinical considerations with respect to diagnosis, treatment and management of emphysema due to alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->