Possible new drug for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis


Gordon Burwash was given three to five years to live after being diagnosed with a lung disease called “idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis”. But thanks to a clinical trial at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, the 72-year old has outlived his prognosis. Research shows a drug could help prolong the lives of the 10 to 12-thousand Canadians diagnosed with the disease.

Gordon Burwash was carrying luggage up a flight of stairs while on vacation when he noticed something wasn’t quite right: “So I came back home. I didn’t feel well. I thought I had pneumonia.”

He was referred to Doctor Martin Kolb at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton who diagnosed Burwash with the lung disease “Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis” — or IPF: “The lungs build up scar tissue without a good explanation why that would happen.”

IPF causes breathlessness that worsens each day. It’s normally found in people over 60. About half of those diagnosed will die within three or four years.

Gordon said: “The hardest part was telling the kids. And the thoughts of, we have 6 grandkids and how long will I be around to see them. That’s the hard part.”

Burwash agreed to be part of a clinical trial for Nintedanib. A drug originally developed to slow down cancer progression.

“This is a pill form and it has shown it doesn’t stop the disease but it makes the worsening less quick.”

Researchers at St. Joes concluded Nintedanib slows down IPF progression by approximately 50 percent per year. It’s now been 7 years since Burwash was diagnosed.

Gordon said: “The life isn’t the one I wanted. But the alternative isn’t great either. So I’ve very pleased with the drug.”

Clinical trials took place in 30 countries across the globe including here at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. The drug could be approved for use in Canada by as early as 2015.

If approved, Nintedanib would be the second drug used to treat IPF. The hope is it will be the first to be covered by public healthcare.

Gordon said: “I’m happy because I’m still here. And that’s the best part of the whole thing.”


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Bob says:

Seems promising for the people suffering from this breathing issue.

rolando says:

Good news

Lee says:

Mr. Burwash, all the best to you. Hope this drug has a positive outcome for you. IPF is a terrible disease and maybe this drug will be used for other scarring lung diseases too.

Giggles says:

Good news

Giggles says:

Glad the trials seems to have a positive result.

Zola says:

There’s always hope – they are doing amazing things these days!

Shan says:

Great News

xxmutterxx says:

What great news.

Bill says:

St. Joe’s has exemplary research – there is hope!

Sandra says:

keep it going there.

Jargom says:

Good news…

RomanC says:


Countrylady says:

Hopefully more patients receive treatment from the tests results so positive

Andy says:

More money needs to be spent in research.

Jane says:


bgee says:

good discovery

cpintoronto says:

That is great news. Always good when you can take an existing medication and use it for another disorder.

Jane says:

great for those needing it

Ch/ching says:

I hope that he has a long prosperious life.

Armand says:

I wish you and your family well sir

shy says:

Great news. And goodluck

Elizabeth says:

Good to hear, he looks quite well!
Hope he has many more years of good health.

ErikaR says:

We need more progress with the terrible illness.

Wendy says:

I can’t imagine dealing with this condition..I am happy to see the positive.

ariadne89 says:

Hope the drug works!

Lilseanile says:

About time..

Paul says:

Gordon is a great ambassador for this projects. Good luck to Gordon.

maggie says:

this is great news

mandusa says:

Hopefully he’ll be around a lot longer for his family.

zsazsa says:

Good thing

Pansy says:

Great news!!

Eileen says:

good luck

KeithG says:

Great news

Mr. says:

i understand his pain as i was also diagnosed for a lung disease called boop and had very little hope, but now after 24 years, i am still alive and healthy.

SusieQ says:

a great find indeed

Grandma Beaner says:

Great news He was my teacher in school…

Albert says:

great news for all effect !!

Darlene says:

Nice smile at the end of his story.

SBWhiplash says:

Great News.

Joanna says:

I hope it works out 🙂 Good Luck!

steelers says:


thesquire says:


xjaysfan says:






Lisa says:

I am hope this is a breakthrough for lung cancer.

druch@bell.net says:

Great news

Zackzon says:

Great news

Lee says:

best doctor’s at St Joes

Sandra says:

Will this have any spin-offs for arthritus sufferers

winkdickerson says:

This is great news!!