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Asthma Biologic – A boon to the sufferers

Mar 29, 2017

Asthma Biologic – A boon to the sufferers

Asthma is an inflammatory condition that leads to tightening and swelling of the muscles around the airways causing them to narrow followed by reversible airflow obstruction, bronchial hyper responsiveness and recurrent symptoms.

The primary causes of this chronic disease are tobacco smoke, pollution, allergens, weather changes etc. It is associated with significant impairment and risk and its complexity increases owing to its variable therapeutic requirements. The patients of asthma not only demonstrate different symptoms but also, respond to different treatment methods differently. Due to unresponsiveness of the patients with severe asthma to inhaled corticosteroids which usually provide solution to the conditions of patients with mild and moderate severity, there has been an urgent need to fathom the individual source of the disease and target it to help reduce the morbidity and mortality rates of this life threatening disease.

Biopharmaceutical approaches have discovered new therapies that pick key cells which trigger inflammatory or allergic responses in the patients. As a part of this therapy, monoclonal antibodies were developed to target these molecules and tested for their effectiveness to treat asthma. Omalizumab is one such monoclonal antibody which was targeted at lowering lgElevels, the antibody responsible for allergic responses in asthma patients. Interestingly, it has proved beneficial to both allergic and non-allergic patients and currently, is the only biologic antibody approved for patients above the age of 12 in the United States. Besides omalizumab, several other antibodies were developed to reduce cytokines which are known to fuel allergic responses and inflammation. However, these could not pass clinical tests of efficacy despite being proved effective in animals. Besides, multiple products have been developed to restrict the growth and survival of eosinophils which contribute to inflammation and often, lead to loss of lung function in asthma. These antibodies seem to be effective in case of individuals having high eosinophil counts and who had not responded to inhaled corticosteroids. Though these biologics provide promise of improved asthma control, further research in the field of asthma is required to gain complete control over it.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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