Advancing Biologic Research in Asthma


How clinical data for the interleukin-targeting class will begin to dictate more treatement decisions and research progression.

What would have headlined discussion at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2020 International Conference had it not been cancelled?

If the answer was based on anything indicated by the ATS data made available online, a strong bet would have been the biologic drug class, and its tailored-treatment potential for severe asthma. New findings on about a half-dozen agents were planned for ATS 2020 presentation, and will likely be built upon for the coming year.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Michael Wechsler, MD, MMSc, of National Jewish Health, explained what a patient suffering from severe asthma may be experiencing just before they are prescribing biologic add-on therapy.

“What we’ve noted is that a large proportion of patients who have severe disease have eosinophilic asthma,” Wechsler said. “In that context, these patients tend to have more exacerbations, they tend to have lower lung function, they often have worsening asthma and quality of life.”

Wechsler also further detailed his team’s assessment of biologic candidate reslizumab for adults with severe eosinophilic asthma over the span of a year, and what combination therapies showed the most benefit for the population.

The conversation with Wechsler concluded on a looking-forward note: where reslizumab research is headed after promising long-term findings—and where the overall state of biologic research stands in relation to severe asthma care.

“We’ve moved to an era where we’re targeting patients based on their underlying biology, whether it’s the eosinophil pathway, the IL-5 pathway, the IL-4 and -13 pathways, or targeting IgE,” he explained. “It’s recognizing that asthma is a heterogeneous disease.”

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