BIRMINGHAM, AL (WAFF) - Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have begun experimental therapy for emphysema.
Thursday, researchers injected a foam sealant into the lungs of a former smoker.
The test subject has late-stage emphysema and is the first patient in the United States to be treated in the AeriSeal System.
The therapy is a potential method to reduce lung volume in patients with severe emphysema.
According the press release "the AeriSeal System treatment is performed via a standard bronchoscopy, in which a bronchoscope is used to thread a catheter through the patient's airway to the most diseased areas of the lung."
The foam, once injected, hardens to a rubbery consistency, blocking the holes in the air sacs associated with emphysema. After a few weeks, the air sacs deflate and the lungs shrink, clearing the way for normal diaphragm function.
The main side effect is flu like symptoms that clear up in two to three days.