Asthma is characterized by discordant responses among cells of the adaptive and innate immune systems. This interplay involves a complex pattern of cytokine-driven processes resulting in cell migration and recruitment, inflammation, and proliferative states. The significant majority of asthmatic patients respond well to conventional inhaled treatments. However, about 5% of asthmatics have severe refractory asthma and account for 50% of the health expenditure on asthma. Human(ized) monoclonal antibodies (hMabs) targeting inflammatory pathways are promising therapeutic agents in asthma management. The anti-IgE hMab omalizumab was the first biologic treatment approved for the treatment of allergic asthma. Potential future strategies and targets include interleukin (IL)-5, IL-4, and IL-13, anti-TSLP, IL-25, and IL-33. hMabs targeting IL-5 have shown great promise in severe refractory asthma with a persisting eosinophilia, and clinical trials with hMabs against IL-13 and IL4Rα have also shown clinical benefit. Studies of hMabs against other cytokines in severe asthma are under way.
© 2015 American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.