New therapies for asthma: is there any progress?

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2010 Jul;31(7):335-43. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Jun 1.


Current therapy for asthma with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting inhaled beta(2)-agonists is highly effective, safe and relatively inexpensive, but for many patients, their disease remains poorly controlled. Most advances in asthma therapy have occurred through improving these drug classes, and a major developmental hurdle is to improve existing drug classes. The major unmet needs include better treatment of severe asthma, and curative therapies for mild to moderate asthma. Many new treatments are specific, targeting a single mediator or receptor, and are unlikely to have a major clinical effect, although they might be effective in specific asthma phenotypes. Drugs with more widespread effects, such as kinase inhibitors, might be more effective but have a greater risk of side effects. New treatments targeting the underlying allergic/immune process would treat concomitant allergic diseases. Improved immunotherapy approaches have the prospect of disease modification, although prospects for a cure are currently remote. The most promising therapeutic developments for asthma are discussed in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cytokines / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cytokines / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Respiratory System / drug effects
  • Respiratory System / pathology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors