COPD affects 210 million people worldwide and is projected to be the third leading cause of death by 2020. The prevalence of COPD in the United States is estimated at 12.1 million with another 14 million likely undiagnosed. The cost to the US economy for managing COPD is estimated to be $38.8B (in 2005) of which $21.8 billion is in direct costs – medicines and healthcare services – and the remaining $17 billion is indirect costs – lost productivity. The healthcare burden of COPD over 20 years (2006-2026) in the US is projected to exceed $800 billion.
A new class of minimally invasive interventions delivered through a bronchoscope is under development for improving respiratory function for patients with COPD. Airway stents can be used to stabilize the patency of some airways while one-way valves or biocompatible glue can be used to close off other airways entirely. Ideally, one would prefer to use stents to reducing air-trapping in lung regions that are otherwise functional, and to use one way valves and glue to close off lung regions that have lost their gas exchange capability.
Pulmonary functional imaging with MagniXene™ can provide significant value to the medical device industry. By assessing lung function before and after therapeutic procedures, MagniXene MRI can inform scientists of the redistribution of the ventilation and gas exchange functions of the lung. Moreover as a companion diagnostic, MagniXene™ images depicting spatial distributions of lung functional microstructure can guide pulmonologists in devising personalized treatment plans that provide patients the optimum benefit.