Biologics for asthma: Attacking the source of the disease, not the symptoms

November 05, 2015

SAN ANTONIO, TX (November 5, 2015) - Imagine you suffer from severe asthma, and you've tried every treatment available, but nothing has worked. You still can't breathe. Then a new therapy comes along that attacks the source of the asthma, as opposed to the symptoms, and treats the disease at a cellular level. That's the promise of biologics, and the topic of four presentations at the 2015 ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio, November 5-9.

"Biologics is definitely something that has piqued the interest of physicians, including allergists, throughout medicine," said Kevin Murphy, MD, ACAAI Fellow and presenter at the meeting. "Traditional asthma treatments don't work for some people, and their asthma is uncontrolled. Biologics is at the cutting edge of treatment because it has the potential to be personalized - to be formulated to treat those cells which are the mechanism, or pathway, that leads to allergic inflammation and makes it so hard for some people to breathe."

Omalizumab is currently the only biologic treatment for asthma that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States, but more are in the pipeline. Allergists hope that in the next few years there could be two or three more drugs approved. Omalizumab is safe for both adults, and children over the age of 12, for treatment of severe asthma.

"It's an exciting time to be an allergist," said allergist Rohit Katial, MD, ACAAI Fellow and presenter at the meeting. "For many years, our primary tools for combatting severe asthma have been either bronchodilators, known as quick-relief medicines, or long-term control medicines which are taken every day to prevent symptoms and attacks. We also use immunotherapy, allergy shots, to reduce the allergic reactions which cause asthma attacks. Biologics target the cells and pathways that cause the allergic inflammation that has been linked to asthma."

People with severe uncontrolled asthma being treated with biologics receive an IV or subcutaneous injection every two weeks or once a month. The amount of allergens in the system is decreased when the inflammatory cells are treated. They find they don't have as many asthma attacks and they can breathe better. As knowledge of the effects of biologics grows, as well as the ability to identify patients who will find them beneficial, the movement toward personalized treatment will follow.

Presentations on Biologics at the ACAAI Meeting

Friday, November 6, 10:50 am - Precision Asthma Care: Phenotypes and Biologic Medications
Saturday, November 7, 8:30-10:30 am - Biologics in Practice: Unique Opportunity for Allergist Expertise
Saturday, November 7, 9:35 am - Adverse Reactions to Biologic Agents
Sunday, November 8, 5:05 pm - Biologic and Other New Therapies for Severe Asthma
-end-
For more information about allergies and to locate an allergist in your area, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. The ACAAI Annual Meeting is being held November 5-9, 2015 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX. For more news and research being presented at the meeting, follow the conversation on Twitter #ACAAI.

About ACAAI

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.