Use of Biologicals as Immunotherapy in Asthma and Related Diseases

Brandie L. Walker; Richard Leigh

Disclosures

Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2008;4(6):743-756. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Recent advances in our understanding of the immune-mediated inflammatory pathways in asthma and other allergic diseases have resulted in the development of novel biological compounds for the treatment of these conditions. These compounds offer an advantage over glucocorticosteroid therapy by specifically targeting components of the immunologic cascade, thereby allowing patients to reduce or discontinue their glucocorticosteroid treatment. Another potential advantage of biological compounds is that they may provide additional anti-inflammatory benefits, over and above those provided by glucocorticosteroid therapy, for patients who continue to have evidence of refractory asthma. The anti-IgE monoclonal antibody omalizumab is already being used for the treatment of allergic asthma and a number of other biological therapies are currently in various stages of clinical development. The purpose of this review is to summarize the data from these studies and to provide a rationale for the use of these compounds in asthma and related allergic airway diseases.

Introduction

Advances in our understanding of the immune-mediated inflammatory mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of asthma and other related allergic diseases have resulted in the development of novel target-specific biological compounds for the treatment of these conditions. The only such agent currently approved for the treatment of allergic asthma is the anti-IgE monoclonal antibody (mAb) omalizumab, although its role in the treatment of other allergic airway diseases has not yet been clearly defined. However, many other biological compounds are currently under development for the treatment of asthma and related diseases, and several of these compounds are now in various stages of clinical development. The purpose of this review is to summarize the data from these studies and to provide a rationale for the use of these compounds in asthma and related allergic airway diseases. It should be emphasized that the review will focus on those biological compounds that have shown some evidence of therapeutic benefit in human studies, as several agents showing promise both in vitro and in experimental animal models have failed to confirm any clinical benefit in human clinical studies.

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