A research study of a new drug given to steroid-dependent asthmatics has produced exciting results.
Reported in a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine, the new asthma drug, Mepolizamab, was tested at various medical centers around the globe, including the University of Pittsburgh.
Mepolizamab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that inactivates interleukin– 5. Interleukin– 5 is a cell communicator that recruits eosinophils (allergic cells) into the lungs.
The eosinophil is a form of white blood cell that causes airway inflammation — asthma’s hallmark.
The remarkable outcome of this study revealed the participants enjoying a marked reduction or cessation of steroid medication, while having improvement in their asthma, along with fewer flare-ups.
The drug was administered by injection once a month and was relatively free of side effects. The main ones were headache and sore throat.
The drug has not finished all its clinical trials for FDA approval, but it should soon. For now the only other monoclonal asthma therapy is Xolair, which binds to the allergic antibody IgE.