Navigation Links
New Drug Eases Asthma Symptoms
Date:10/18/2007

Blocks inflammatory activity of two immune system molecules, researchers report

THURSDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A new twist on an old theory of drug treatment for asthma has shown promise in a small, early trial, a California company reports.

The idea is to block the activity of cytokines, immune system molecules believed to play a major role in asthma by causing allergic inflammation.

A number of cytokines have been implicated in asthma, among them interleukin-4 and interleukin-13. A number of drugs aimed at blocking one or the other have met with little success.

The new approach is a single drug, called pitrakinra, which blocks the receptors for both interleukins simultaneously, said Malinda Longphre, director of the clinical department of Aerovance Inc. in Berkeley.

"It has been shown that IL-4 shares receptors with IL-13," Longphre added. "They produce the same response. Our drug blocks the shared receptors, and it appears from the two clinical trials we report that we are able to intervene and inhibit the allergic response throughout."

Results of the two trials are reported in the Oct. 19 issue of The Lancet. In one trial, 12 people with asthma were given daily injections of pitrakinra and then inhaled allergens. One major measure of lung function, forced expiratory volume, was reduced by only 17.1 percent in those taking the drug, compared to a decrease in lung function of 23.1 percent in a group taking a placebo.

In the second study, 16 people with asthma inhaled pitrakinra. The decrease in lung function when exposed to allergens averaged a mere 4.4 percent, compared to a 15.9 percent decrease in lung function for a comparable group that was given placebo.

"The drug itself is human IL-4, with a couple of amino acid substitutions that allow it to bind to the receptors," Longphre explained. The company hopes to market the drug as an inhalant, but that prospect is years away and will require a long series of successful trials, she added.

"We see it as a treatment for problem patients, those not able to control the condition by steroid therapy," Longphre said. "Most doctors have at least one such patient in their practice."

The findings drew a mixed response from asthma experts.

Dr. Harold Nelson, a professor of medicine at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, was downbeat, primarily because of his experience with an IL-4 blocker several years ago.

"A first study was fairly encouraging," Nelson said. "A second study was positive. A third study was an utter failure, and we dropped the drug."

And Nelson was not impressed by the nature of the Lancet studies. "These were allergen-challenge studies," he said. "An allergen-challenge study is not asthma. A positive response in an allergen-challenge study is not a positive response in asthma."

However, Dr. Marc E. Rothenberg, director of the division of allergy and immunology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, had a markedly different reaction.

"The idea that a drug can block this pathway and block the asthmatic reaction is very exciting," Rothenberg said.

While the two trials were small, "they were not insignificant," he added. "Such a dramatic effect with a small sample size indicates that the effect will not be trivial."

The new drug is a result of two decades of research, and "key targets have been identified through this molecular research," Rothenberg said.

Drug companies now are testing a number of drugs aimed at blocking cytokine activity in asthma, he added.

More information

For more on asthma and its treatment, consult the National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Malinda Longphre, Ph.D., director, clinical department, Aerovance Inc., Berkeley, Calif.; Harold Nelson, M.D., professor, medicine, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver; Marc E. Rothenberg, M.D., director, division of allergy and immunology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Oct. 19, 2007, The Lancet


'/>"/>
Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Evidence Links Protein Damage to Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers
2. Ticks may cause more diseases
3. Headache decreases appetite
4. Lifespan And Height Interlinked With Juvenile Diseases.
5. Increase in the Number of Cases of Animal Diseases in New South Wales.
6. Metronidazole Increases Risk Of Premature Deliveries.
7. Human gene number increases
8. Stress response increases suicide risk
9. Birth weight key factor in heart diseases
10. Sleep apnoea increases post-operative risks
11. New Drug ALT-711 decreases blood vessel stiffness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX ... Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over ... Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, ... the latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. ... toward their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association ... it will receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance ... 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their pencils ... an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to a genetic ... 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... National recruitment firm ... life sciences executive with extensive sequencing and genomics experience, as Vice President of North ... Ms. Hill will be responsible for leading the sales team in the commercialization of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical Systems ... "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical devices and ... , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply ... Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s ... strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ., ... developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that it was ... Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of U.S. and ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief ... shareholder awareness of our progress in developing drugs for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... kidney failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by removing ... thus the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s electrolytes ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare expenditure ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: