Selected Medicines in Development for Asthma

Backgrounder: Selected Medicines in Development for Asthma

Reducing Eosinophil Accumulation – Eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) are important for killing parasites in the body, but in asthma they can accumulate in lung tissue and cause damage to the lining of the air passages. Interleukin-5 (IL-5) is essential for the production, activation and maturation of eosinophils.  A monoclonal antibody in development inhibits IL-5 resulting in a sustained reduction in the numbers of eosinophils accumulating in the lungs and stopping those already there from causing damage.

Controlling Pathogens – An inhalation therapy in development is part of a new class of asthma treatments that stimulate the natural immune defense in the airways.
The treatment aims to prevent infections and acute exacerbations of chronic or progressive respiratory diseases, such as asthma. The therapy acts against an array of pathogens that can cause respiratory infections in asthma patients often leading to acute inflammation of the airways.

Alleviating Allergy Symptoms – A monoclonal antibody in development targets interleukin-13 (IL-13), a protein that is thought to play a pivotal role in the symptoms of allergic asthma, including airway hyper-responsiveness and increased mucus secretion that contribute to airway obstruction. The belief is that by directly targeting IL-13, it may be possible to alleviate the symptoms of allergic disorders, such as asthma.

Blocking Inflammatory Responses – Responses to environmental allergens can cause inflammation of the airways in allergic asthma. It is thought that the increased presence of both prostaglandin and the protein receptor CRTh2 on inflammatory cells play an important role in asthma symptoms, such as coughing, difficulty breathing and lower lung function. Several medicines in development aim to interfere with the pro-inflammatory effects of prostaglandin by blocking CRTh2, thereby reducing asthma symptoms.

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