Biologics for asthma and allergy

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The development of monoclonal antibody-based biologics targeted at inhibition of the Th2 cytokines interleukin-4, interleukin-5 and interleukin-13 represent potentially effective treatments for asthma and allergic diseases. This short review is based on English-language original articles in PubMed or MedLine that reported significant clinical findings on the evidence demonstrating the effectiveness or otherwise of the targeting of interleukin-4, interleukin-5 or interleukin-13 in asthma or allergic disease.

Recent findings

Asthma exhibits marked heterogeneity both clinically and at the molecular phenotypic level requiring specifically targeted treatments to block the key pathways of the disease. It is becoming apparent that significant clinical effects with anticytokine-based biologic therapies are more likely in carefully selected patient populations that take asthma phenotypes into account. Biologics aimed at interleukin-4/13, interleukin-5 or immunoglobulin E are potentially effective treatments for patients with difficult to treat allergic disease. The development of reproducible and straightforward discriminatory biomarkers may aid identification of those patients most likely to benefit from treatment with these expensive interventions.

Summary

Overall these biologics-based therapies are effective treatments for difficult to treat asthma and allergic disease with a safety profile comparable with placebo in the majority of published studies.

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