As part of our ongoing seminar series, the Centre of Excellence in Severe Asthma hosted Prof. Peter Wark, for a webinar on “Monoclonal Antibody Therapy and Severe Asthma” on 08 December 2016.
Significant heterogeneity exists in asthma. Different disease processes underlie pathology in different people. For example, severe asthma can be subdivided based on the presence or absence of eosinophilic airway inflammation. Effective asthma treatment requires a personalised approach.
New treatments are now available that target specific disease processes in asthma. These approaches require a detailed understanding of the mechanisms causing disease in each patient. Careful phenotyping is required to identify patient populations likely to respond to each targeted therapy.
Monoclonal antibodies have emerged as options for severe, treatment-refractory asthma. Omalizumab (anti-IgE) is approved for the treatment of severe allergic asthma. Treatment reduces exacerbation rates in patients with persistent elevated IgE. Mepolizumab (anti-IL-5) treatment reduces exacerbations in patients with severe eosinophilic asthma. Additional monoclonal antibodies are currently in development that target allergic and eosinophilic inflammation.
The mechanisms causing non-eosinophilic or non-allergic asthma are less understood. Limited treatment options are available. An improved understanding of the mechanisms causing disease is required to inform the development of targeted therapies in this patient population.
Prof. Peter Wark is a senior staff specialist and a conjoint professor with the John Hunter Hospital and the University of Newcastle.
His research focuses on the impact of infections on airways disease, with a particular interest in viral infections and acute exacerbations of chronic airways disease.