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Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2004 Dec;27(3):207-17.

Sense and antisense: therapeutic potential of oligonucleotides and interference RNA in asthma and allergic disorders.

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Epigenesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cranbury, NJ, USA.


Advances in our understanding of asthma pathogenesis and delineation of the human genome project are yielding novel candidate targets for therapeutic intervention. In parallel with target identification, the past decade has produced novel approaches to normalizing expression genes that are upregulated in disease processes. Single-stranded antisense oligonucleotides and double-stranded short-interfering RNA molecules, which specifically mark target transcripts for degradation, are being investigated for their ability to modulate disease processes. In both cases, the targets are RNA transcripts, and not protein; therefore, all types of molecular gene products can be inhibited, including historically undrugable species such as transcription factors and phosphatases. Various RNA interference strategies have been successfully tested in vitro and in animal models of disease, and data is beginning to accumulate from human clinical trials.EPI-2010, a 21-mer phosphorothioate against the adenosine A1 receptor promoter region,has completed preclinical pharmacology testing and its initial clinical trials. The rationale for EPI-2010 is that overactivity of the adenosine signaling pathway in asthmatic lungs contributes to airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness. Phase I/IIa clinical trials have shown EPI-2010 to be safe and well-tolerated, with modest indications of efficacy in patients with mild asthma.

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