Natick, MA (May 11, 2011) -- Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) today announced the launch of its Alair® Bronchial Thermoplasty System in Canada. Doctors at Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec in Québec City and St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario, treated the first Canadian patients with bronchial thermoplasty. Developed by the Company’s Asthmatx business, the Alair System is the first device-based treatment for severe asthma approved by Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Bronchial thermoplasty is a bronchoscopic procedure performed under moderate sedation on an outpatient basis. The Alair System delivers thermal energy to the airway wall in a precisely controlled manner to reduce excessive airway smooth muscle. It is designed to decrease the airways’ ability to constrict, thereby reducing asthma attack frequency and severity. Clinical data show bronchial thermoplasty is safe and effective in the treatment of severe, persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with drugs (inhaled medications).
Michele Laviolette, M.D., and Simon Martel, M.D., Professors of Medicine at Université Laval, and respirologists at Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie served as clinical investigators in the Asthma Intervention Research 2 (AIR2) Trial in Canada. “Bronchial thermoplasty is a new option for physicians treating patients with severe asthma, and has the potential to reduce hospital visits, out-of-pocket costs and missed workdays due to asthma symptoms,” said Dr. Laviolette. “This procedure provides a long-term benefit to adult asthma patients and improves the quality of life for those suffering from this chronic condition.”
Dr. Gerard Cox, M.B., Professor of Medicine at McMaster University, and John Miller, M.D., Professor of Surgery (Thoracic) at McMaster University, also served as clinical investigators in the AIR2 Trial. “After more than eight years of treating asthma patients in clinical studies with bronchial thermoplasty, we are pleased that we can now offer this important treatment to a broader range of patients with severe asthma,” said Dr. Cox. “Bronchial thermoplasty offers them an important non-drug alternative to control their disease.”
The prevalence of asthma in Canada has increased over the last 20 years with an estimated 3 million Canadians diagnosed with the disease, according to the Asthma Society of Canada; approximately 5 to 10 percent of those suffering from asthma are diagnosed with severe persistent asthma. The burden of asthma goes beyond the physical symptoms, as it is the leading cause for absenteeism from school and third-leading cause of work loss. In 2010, asthma attacks resulted in more than 146,000 emergency room visits, and the direct cost of asthma care in Canada, including medical care and treatment, is estimated at $600 million per year.
“The Alair System has been well received in the U.S. and other countries where it has gained increased acceptance as a long-term treatment option for severe asthma sufferers,” said David Pierce, President of Boston Scientific’s Endoscopy Division. “Canada is one of a number of countries where we expect to continue our launch of the system this year, and we are confident its introduction will strengthen our pulmonary portfolio worldwide.”
In 2010, Boston Scientific acquired Asthmatx, which has developed a catheter-based outpatient procedure utilizing its Alair® Bronchial Thermoplasty System that provides long-lasting and improved asthma control for adult severe asthma patients. For more information, visit www.BTforAsthma.com.
About Boston Scientific
Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices whose products are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties. For more information, please visit: www.bostonscientific.com.
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Boston Scientific Corporation
Boston Scientific Corporation