SOURCE: The LAM Foundation

The LAM Foundation

June 01, 2015 10:38 ET

LAM Drug Breakthrough Announced on Eve of World Wide LAM Awareness Day

CINCINNATI, OH--(Marketwired - Jun 1, 2015) - As The LAM Foundation, based in Cincinnati, marks World Wide LAM Awareness Day on June 1, the Foundation, scientists and patients are excited to share the news of an important breakthrough in the treatment of LAM, or lymphangioleiomyomatosis, a rare progressive lung disease that primarily affects women of childbearing age.

On Thursday, May 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Rapamune (sirolimus) to treat LAM. This is the first drug approved to treat the disease. Rapamune originally was approved to help prevent organ rejection in kidney transplant patients. Approximately 1,400 American women and an estimated 3,500 globally have been diagnosed with LAM and many more remain undiagnosed.

"This is a major step toward successful treatment of this disease," said Dr. Frank McCormack, director of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for The LAM Foundation. "Women who had limited choices for treatment now have a drug proven to help LAM patients."

"As a patient, I continue to be in awe and humbled by the efforts of so many people that brought us to this day," said Mary Harbaugh, a LAM patient. "Tears are running down my face right now as I think about so many in our LAM community that have given so much of their time and dedication to work on our behalf."

The drug's approval comes as The LAM Foundation marks June 1 as World Wide LAM Awareness Day, as LAM patients and their families launch a fundraising campaign called 20|20|20, where 20 LAM patients invite 20 family members and/or friends to donate $20 each month for 20 months. The significance of 20 is The LAM Foundation's 20th anniversary in 2015.

"Even though we have an approved drug option for the treatment of LAM, that doesn't mean that the research will stop," said Susan Sherman, The LAM Foundation executive director. "Rapamune is proven effective in suppressing the progression of LAM, however, work continues to reach our ultimate goal: finding a cure."

Over the last 20 years, The LAM Foundation has raised more than $19 million and directed the majority of those funds toward research, which has been leveraged to $40 in funding from other sources, including the National Institutes of Health.

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