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Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Dec;132(3):333-51. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Sep 12.

Monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of asthma.

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UCB Pharma, 216 Bath Road, Slough SL1 3WE, United Kingdom.


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways which can have a detrimental effect on quality of life and in extreme cases cause death. Although the majority of patients can control their asthma symptoms with a combination of steroids and beta agonists there is still a group of patients whose asthma remains symptomatic despite the best available treatment. These severe asthmatic patients represent the unmet medical need in asthma and are the focus of those developing novel monoclonal antibody based drugs. The complex networks of cytokines and cells involved in the pathology of asthma provide plenty of scope for intervention with monoclonal antibody based drugs which are able to block cytokine or chemokine receptor interactions, deplete cells expressing a specific receptor or block cell/cell interactions. At present anti-IgE (Xolair©) is the only monoclonal antibody based drug approved for the treatment of asthma. However, a number of other antibody based drugs have been clinically tested in asthma including anti-IL-5, anti-IL-4, anti-IL-13, anti-TNFα, anti-CCR3, anti-CCR4 and anti-OX40L. This review will examine the development of these monoclonal antibody based therapies. Since many of these therapies have targeted key pathways in asthma pathology these studies provide information on patient stratification and asthma pathology.

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