Precision medicine in asthma: the role of bronchial thermoplasty

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The inflammatory makeup of severe asthma is heterogeneous. Identification of the predominant cellular endotype via biomarkers can aid in the selection of more advanced therapies. This review is clinically focused on how to use these biomarkers to help select between biologic agents and/or bronchial thermoplasty.

Recent findings

Several Th2 biomarkers exist for the detection of eosinophilic disease; however, the best biomarker for clinical practice is debatable depending upon local resources. Currently, there are three federal drug agency-approved biologic agents (omalizumab, mepolizumab and reslizumab) to treat severe asthma with frequent exacerbations despite standard medical therapy. Several others are either in clinical trials or in the development phase for the treatment of eosinophilic asthma. To date, agents targeting neutrophilic inflammation have been largely unsuccessful. Bronchial thermoplasty has emerged as an option for the treatment of severe asthma.

Summary

The appropriate selection of patients through the use of eosinophilic biomarkers has led to significant reductions in exacerbations with the use of mAb therapy. Bronchial thermoplasty has also shown reductions in asthma exacerbations and improved quality of life; however, it is unclear which patients may respond best to this intervention.

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