Antibody Treatment Relieves Allergic Asthma

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 03:24 PM

By Nick Tate

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Canadian researchers have successfully tested an antibody that can improve the quality of life for asthmatics by relieving inflammation in the lungs, Medical Xpress reports. 
 
The research — led by Gail Gauvreau, M.D., associate professor at McMaster University and Paul O'Byrne, M.D., — executive director of the Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton — found that blocking a specific protein in the lungs with an antibody both alleviates inflammation and provides resistance to allergens for those with mild allergic asthma.

"It was known that the epithelial cells which line the airways in the lungs produce a protein called thymic stromal lymphopoietin that causes inflammation. This study, for the first time, proved that these cells continually produce this protein in humans with asthma," said Dr. O'Byrne. "While we studied patients with allergic asthma, this research opens the door for the development of new treatments not only for this population, but for those diagnosed with severe asthma as well."
 
Individuals with allergic asthma are typically treated with inhaled corticosteroids or bronchodilators that control their asthma. While antibodies are typically reserved for severe asthma, the new research suggests it can benefit even those with mild allergic asthma.
 
The study involved 31 patients at five sites across Canada. After 12 weeks, the antibodies significantly reduced inflammation and protected the participants against inhaled allergens when compared to an inactive placebo.
 
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Thoracic Society conference in San Diego.

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