Michael Blaiss, MD: Inflammation Care at ACAAI


How the annual college meeting has come to address the rapidly developing field of immunotherapy.

It’s a new era of treatment for inflammatory disease, and organizations such as the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology are tasked with assuring prescribers are learning the newest and most useful data, while leading discussion on the most critical questions remaining.

In an interview with MD Magazine® while at the ACAAI 2019 Scientific Meeting in Houston, Michael Blaiss, MD, executive medical director of the organization, explained how ACAAI has—and continues to—adapt to the developing understanding of type 2 inflammation disease and their best therapies.

Blaiss: There's no doubt that the type 2 inflammation is a major part of what drives in our patients, things like allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, and obviously asthma, atopic dermatitis, eosinophilic gastroenteritis—so many of these conditions.

So it's exciting to have so many new biologics that had been approved, and others that are in the pipeline right now that we'll be hearing about at this meeting, that can really make a difference in our patients that are suffering with these conditions. It's exciting to see the science behind them. Very importantly, this was covered in a lot of the sessions that we'll be having at this meeting: who are the right patients for these particular treatments, what do we need to watch as far as endpoints, as far as improvement associated with these treatments, and then what about side effects associated with these treatments?

Again, most of these treatments are very new. They haven't been used in thousands upon thousands of patients yet, so we have to be cognizant that we have to watch for the possibility of side effects to occur. One of the things that keeps coming up, and we're thinking about developing sessions in 2020 or 2021, in our future annual meetings, are dealing with some of the controversies with biologics: can you mix 2 different biologics, where the patient has ulcerative colitis and atopic dermatitiscan you use 2 different biologics there in those patients? What about data that may be combining 2 or 3 different biologics in the management of asthma—it may be better than just one alone.

There all these unanswered questions out there that we need more and more information. And again, we'll be bringing in different people doing the research to help us in answering these questions at this meeting and obviously in future meetings. But it's an explosion of new treatments. So, patients out there that are suffering with asthma and atopic dermatitis, chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps—there are a lot of new treatments out there they can get.

One of the more exciting new things that we're going to see over the next 12-24 months and we'll hear more about for the first time will be the development of what we call JAK inhibitors, for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. So this is an oral biologic, and there are several companies that are developing agents of JAK inhibitors for atopic dermatitis.

So we'll see an explosion of those particular types of treatment. There's another treatment that's in the pipeline for atopic dermatitis that blocks IL-31 that we'll be hearing about that's very important as far as controlling itch in atopic dermatitis. So literally, there's an absolute explosion of new treatments for a lot of type 2 inflammatory conditions like asthma and atopic dermatitis.

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