The recognition of α-1-antitrypsin deficiency, its function, and its role in predisposition to the development of severe emphysema was a watershed in our understanding of the pathophysiology of the condition. This led to the concept and development of intravenous replacement therapy used worldwide to protect against lung damage induced by neutrophil elastase. Nevertheless, much remained unknown about the deficiency and its impact, although in recent years the genetic and clinical variations in manifestation have provided new insights into assessing impact, efficacy of therapy, and development of new therapeutic strategies, including gene therapy, and outcome measures, such as biomarkers and computed tomography. The current article reviews this progress over the preceding 50 years.
Keywords: biomarkers; gene therapy; α-1-antitrypsin deficiency.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.