Research on a very exciting new medicine for asthma was featured several weeks ago in The New England Journal of Medicine. This drug — the first ever to work on both the acute and late phases of allergic response — is an enzyme that inactivates GATA-3 messenger RNA, and is being called SB010.
GATA-3 is a signal that favors T-helper cells to follow the TH-2 pathway, which promotes allergy. TH-1 eliminates allergy. Or, to use a Star Wars analogy: TH-1 is the Force, while TH-2 is the Dark Side of the Force.
All allergic reactions, including asthma, are bimodal; that is, after exposure to the allergen there is an immediate response occurring right away and lasting minutes to a few hours, but also a delayed response that builds gradually and lasts for many days. This late phase accounts for the chronic nature of allergies and asthma.
SB010 blocks both responses. In research done at Hannover Medical Center in Germany, patients received SB010 once a day via nebulizer. The results were immediate and dramatic, with most asthmatics experiencing dramatic reduction in their symptoms — even if they were purposely exposed to their causative allergen, such as cat dander.
Also, the medication was very well tolerated with minimal or no side effects. Other medical centers are also completing research on SB010. Hopefully, this will lead to it soon becoming clinically available.