Research Studies

PANTHER (NHLBI / Duke):  Evaluating the Effectiveness of Prednisone, Azathioprine, and N-acetylcysteine in People With Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Status:       Active - Enrolling.
PI:              Danielle Antin-Ozeris, M.D.
Contact:     Jean Estrom                (203) 785-7324   


IPF is a disease in which fibrous tissue clogs and damages the air sacs within the lungs. Widespread and permanent scarring and stiffening of lung tissue eventually results. Individuals with IPF may experience breathing difficulties, cough, chest pain, and a decreased exercise capacity. Although the cause of IPF is not definitively known, it may be a result of an inflammatory response to an unknown substance. There is no cure for IPF, and no approved treatment for the disease. NAC, an antioxidant that is effective at loosening up mucus that forms in the lungs, may improve lung function. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of NAC at preventing the loss of lung function in people with IPF.

This study will enroll people with mild to moderate IPF. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive for 60 weeks either NAC alone or placebo. Study visits will occur at baseline and Weeks 4, 15, 30, 45, and 60. At all study visits, a physical exam and blood collection will occur. At selected visits, the following study procedures will occur: lung function testing; urine collection; a 6-minute walk test, which will measure the distance walked in a 6-minute period; and questionnaires to assess health status, breathing, and quality of life. Participants will record medication usage and symptoms in a daily diary. Study researchers will review medical records and the Social Security death index 5 years after the end of the study to determine the incidence of death among study participants

Inclusion Criteria

Factors that allow someone to participate in a clinical trial.
  • Diagnosis of definite or probable Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) per the ATS 2011 Guidelines up to 48 months before randomization
  • Age 40 to 80 at randomization
  • Percent Forced Vital Capacity (%FVC) ≥50% and ≤90% at screening
  • Percent Carbon Monoxide Diffusing Capacity (%DLCO) ≥30% and ≤90% at screening


Exclusion Criteria

Factors that do not allow someone to participate in a clinical trial.

  • Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1)/FVC ratio <0.8 after administration of bronchodilator at Screening
  • Expected to receive a lung transplant within 1 year from randomization or, for patients at sites in the United States, on a lung transplant waiting list at randomization
  • Known explanation for interstitial lung disease
  • History of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Active infection
  • Ongoing IPF treatments including investigational therapy, immunosuppressants, and cytokine modulating agents
  • History of unstable or deteriorating cardiac or pulmonary disease (other than IPF) within the previous 6 months