The results of a small clinical trial – 12 weeks – was published online in The New England Journal of Medicine and was presented at the American Thoracic Society’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.
The 12-week study involved 104 asthma patients whose disease was not well controlled by their existing medications and who also had elevated levels of a type of immune system cell associated with problematic asthma. Those patients in the study who took Dupilumab saw both the number of asthma attacks or other outbreaks of symptoms decrease by 87 percent when compared with those receiving a placebo. The study results also showed those patients taking Dupilumab had improved measures of lung function and disease control, as well.
Dupilumab works by blocking the action of interleukin-4 and interleukin-13, two inflammatory chemicals made by the body which are believed to contribute to asthma.
In America, about 25 million people have asthma. It is estimated that about 10-20 percent of those Americans having asthma cannot control the disease by common therapy – inhaled steroids and long-acting beta agonists.
The New England Journal of Medicine also published a commentary on the asthma study. The commentary stated it was “too early to tell if this therapy will be of clinical value,” though it was probably “on the right path,” and much” larger studies taking at least two years will be needed before Dupilumab could reach the market.”