Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Patients With Severe Asthma Benefit From Antibody Injection, Researchers Find

Date:
March 9, 2009
Source:
McMaster University
Summary:
Mepolizumab works by blocking the production of eosinophils. By preventing their production, researchers were able to improve asthma, reduce the need for prednisone and really show that eosinophils are important in causing asthma symptoms in these patients.

McMaster University researchers have found patients with a very severe asthma benefit from injections of the antibody, mepolizumab.

Related Articles


The study by Dr. Param Nair and colleagues based at The Firestone Institute for Respiratory Disease, St. Joseph's Healthcare, found patients who require a lot of medication, including prednisone, to control their disease benefit from the injections.

The research published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), investigated asthmatics with a persisting type of airway inflammation with inflammatory cells called eosinophils. It is estimated there are 60,000 to 120,000 Canadians with this condition.

"Mepolizumab works by blocking the production of eosinophils," said the study's senior author Dr. Paul O'Byrne. "By preventing their production, we were able to improve asthma, reduce the need for prednisone and really show that eosinophils are important in causing asthma symptoms in these patients." O'Byrne is the E. J. Moran Campbell Professor in Respiratory Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at McMaster University, and executive director of the Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.

Of three million asthmatics in Canada, about five to eight per cent are severe asthmatics. About half of these have severe asthma with persistent eosinophilia. Although these asthmatics are fewer in number, they represent huge costs to the health care system because frequent flare-ups which can require admission to hospital.

For their study, McMaster researchers recruited 20 mature asthmatic patients (56 – 58 years of age) who had been taking about 10 milligrams of prednisone for approximately nine years, along with other available asthma medication. For doctors, this is a difficult group to manage because of the many drugs they need to control their disease and the side-effects of prednisone which include weight gain, bone loss and an increased risk of diabetes.

During the six month randomized, double-blind, parallel-group trial, nine patients received mepolizumab and 11 were given a placebo.

Patients receiving mepolizumab "markedly reduced" their use of prednisone without their asthma getting any worse, O'Byrne said. By comparison, patients in the placebo group had their asthma flare up as prednisone was reduced.

At the beginning of the study, eosinophils in the sputum, or blood, were elevated in all patients. "But, mepolizumab reduced the number of eosinophils to the normal range and kept them at that level for the entire study," O'Byrne said.

O'Byrne cautioned mepolizumab is not appropriate for all patients with severe asthma. "Many patients with severe asthma would not get benefit from this treatment approach," he said, adding this antibody is only helpful for those with eosinophilic asthma.

Mepolizumab is an investigational drug and currently not approved for use in Canada.

A second study of 61 patients published in the same issue of the NEJM by British researchers also showed mepolizumab therapy effectively treats patients with very severe eosinophilic asthma.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Sally E. Wenzel, a specialist in internal and pulmonary medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, said that even though eosinophils have been identified as a prominent cell type in asthma for more than 100 years, their role as either an "effector" or "innocent bystander" was not confirmed until the publication of the two studies by McMaster and British researchers in the NEJM.

"These studies clearly confirm that in a sub-group of patients with eosinophilic asthma, eosinophils play a role in exacerbations," she wrote.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McMaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nair et al. Mepolizumab for Prednisone-Dependent Asthma with Sputum Eosinophilia. New England Journal of Medicine, 2009; 360 (1): 985-993 [link]

Cite This Page:

McMaster University. "Patients With Severe Asthma Benefit From Antibody Injection, Researchers Find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090304182107.htm>.
McMaster University. (2009, March 9). Patients With Severe Asthma Benefit From Antibody Injection, Researchers Find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090304182107.htm
McMaster University. "Patients With Severe Asthma Benefit From Antibody Injection, Researchers Find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090304182107.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins