Severe asthma continues to be a major clinical problem despite the availability of effective asthma medications such as inhaled corticosteroids. Several targeted biologic therapies are emerging to treat patients with severe asthma. Areas Covered: This review provides an update of information on lebrikizumab, a novel monoclonal antibody that targets IL-13 and is currently in advanced stages of development. It describes the role of IL-13, a key effector cytokine in Type 2 (T2) airway inflammation in asthma and discusses the results of recent phase 2 trials investigating lebrikizumab's efficacy and safety in patients with severe asthma. Furthermore, it provides insight into the current ongoing trials with lebrikizumab and outlines future research needs. Expert Opinion: Several emerging therapeutic targets have been identified for patients with severe asthma. By specifically targeting IL-13, lebrikizumab has the potential to block several downstream signals that play a role in disease progression including airway inflammation, mucous hypersecretion and airway remodeling. The effects of lebrikizumab have been more marked in individuals with high serum periostin levels which reflect underlying IL-13 activity and T2 airway inflammation. Ongoing trials with lebrikizumab aim to further examine its long-term safety and efficacy in a larger population and explore its effects on airway inflammation and function.
Keywords: IL-13; T2 airway inflammation; lebrikizumab; periostin; severe asthma.