Monoclonal antibodies: the new magic bullets for allergy: IUPHAR Review 17

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Abstract

Allergic diseases and conditions are widespread and their incidence is on the increase. They are characterized by the activation of mast cells resident in tissues and the consequent infiltration and stimulation of several inflammatory cells, predominantly eosinophils. Cell–cell cross-talk and the release of mediators are responsible for the symptoms and for the modulation of the response. The gold standard of therapeutic intervention is still glucocorticosteroids, although they are not effective in all patients and may cause numerous side effects. Symptomatic medications are also widespread. As research has led to deeper insights into the mechanisms governing the diseases, new avenues have been opened resulting in recent years in the development of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) such as anti-IgE mAbs (omalizumab) and others still undergoing clinical trials aimed to specifically target molecules involved in the migration and stimulation of inflammatory cells. In this review, we summarize new developments in the field of anti-allergic mAbs with special emphasis on the treatment of asthma, particularly severe forms of this condition, and atopic dermatitis, which are two unmet clinical needs.

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