Infasurf: Lifesaving Treatment for Premature Babies


Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the University at Buffalo


University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences researchers Edmund A. Egan, MD, and Bruce A. Holm, PhD


Since 1999, nearly 500,000 premature infants have been rescued with Infasurf, a replacement for a fluid that reduces surface tension in the lungs, which premature lungs cannot produce in sufficient quantity. Infasurf decreases the incidence of Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) and associated mortality. An adult form of the drug, Pneumasurf, is currently in phase three clinical trials. Pneumasurf is targeted at patients requiring mechanical ventilators as a result of direct acute respiratory distress syndrome, which affects some 100,000 Americans annually and has a 35 percent mortality rate.


Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS)—caused by underdeveloped lungs—affected many premature babies before the development of Infasurf. The two researchers began developing Infasurf in the 1990s. Egan submitted an application to the FDA in 1995, and the FDA approved the drug in 1998.