Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Asthma is a heterogeneous airway disease characterized by typical symptoms in combination with variable airway obstruction. Most patients with asthma have well controlled symptoms and a low risk of asthma attacks with inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) treatment. However, a clinically important subgroup (~ 10%) remains symptomatic and/or at risk of asthma attacks despite maximum inhaled therapy. Patients with severe asthma are responsible for a significant proportion of healthcare costs attributable to asthma and have a large unmet need for better treatments. An important advance in recent years has been the recognition that severe asthma is heterogeneous with respect to clinical problems and the pattern of lower airway inflammation. Identification of eosinophilic inflammation in the airways has become an important priority as novel biologicals that target Th2 cytokines, such as anti-IL5, anti-IL-13 and combined anti-IL-4/13 are showing considerable promise as treatments for this subgroup. It has also become clear that anti-IgE (Omalizumab), the first monoclonal antibody registered for treatment of severe asthma, is only active in patients with active eosinophilic airway inflammation. The future will be identification of potentially responsive patients on the basis of raised biomarkers and, as suggested by the title of this review, targeted treatment with specific cytokine blockade that has a direct effect on the biomarkers. In this review, we outline an approach to the clinical assessment of patients potentially suitable for biological treatment and describe in detail the likely clinical impact of established and new biological treatments.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/cea.12500

Type

Journal article

Journal

Clin Exp Allergy

Publication Date

07/2015

Volume

45

Pages

1162 - 1169

Keywords

Animals, Anti-Asthmatic Agents, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Asthma, Biological Factors, Biomarkers, Cytokines, Humans, Molecular Targeted Therapy, Phenotype, Th2 Cells, Treatment Outcome