Novel targets of omalizumab in asthma

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Purpose of reviewOmalizumab is a recombinant humanized anti-IgE monoclonal antibody approved in the US for moderate to severe persistent allergic asthma (severe persistent asthma in the European Union), uncontrolled despite treatment with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta2 agonists. It reduces asthma exacerbations, symptoms, oral corticosteroid doses, and improves quality of life.Recent findingsOmalizumab may have an antiviral effect when used as a preventive therapy for fall exacerbations in children and teenagers. Two proof-of-concept studies have evaluated omalizumab in nonatopic asthma and showed that it is safe and possibly efficacious in some patients. Omalizumab has been successfully studied as add-on to specific immunotherapy in moderate allergic asthma. Its safety in pregnancy has been assessed in the EXPECT registry. Case series also report positive effects in cases of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, and in nasal disorders frequently associated with asthma. Last, omalizumab may have corticosteroid-sparing effect in a subset of patients with eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Churg-Strauss syndrome).SummaryRecent studies argue in favor of positive effects of omalizumab beyond its current indications in asthma. Well-designed studies are needed in order to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of omalizumab in these possible novel indications.

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