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Emerging therapies for severe asthma

Neil C Thomson*, Rekha Chaudhuri and Mark Spears

Author affiliations

Respiratory Medicine, Institute of Infection, Immunity, & Inflammation, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 OYN UK

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Citation and License

BMC Medicine 2011, 9:102  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-102

Published: 6 September 2011

Abstract

Many patients with asthma have poorly controlled symptoms, and particularly for those with severe disease, there is a clear need for improved treatments. Two recent therapies licensed for use in asthma are omalizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds circulating IgE antibody, and bronchial thermoplasty, which involves the delivery of radio frequency energy to the airways to reduce airway smooth muscle mass. In addition, there are new therapies under development for asthma that have good potential to reach the clinic in the next five years. These include biological agents targeting pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-5 and interleukin-13, inhaled ultra long-acting β2-agonists and once daily inhaled corticosteroids. In addition, drugs that block components of the arachidonic acid pathway that targets neutrophilic asthma and CRTH2 receptor antagonists that inhibit the proinflammatory actions of prostaglandin D2 may become available. We review the recent progress made in developing viable therapies for severe asthma and briefly discuss the idea that development of novel therapies for asthma is likely to increasingly involve the assessment of genotypic and/or phenotypic factors.