Interleukin Inhibitor Reduces Asthma Symptoms

Pitrakinra is an interleukin-4 variant

THURSDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Local treatment with an interleukin-4 variant that inhibits binding of interleukins involved in the inflammatory response can substantially reduce the symptoms of asthma, according to the results of a study published in the Oct. 20 issue of The Lancet.

Sally Wenzel, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues randomized one set of 24 patients with atopic asthma to 25 mg of pitrakinra or placebo once daily by subcutaneous injection, and another set of 32 patients to 60 mg of pitrakinra or placebo twice daily by nebulization.

The researchers found that when given subcutaneously, the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) fell by a maximum of 23.1 percent in the placebo group and by 17.1 percent in the pitrakinra group. In the nebulization group, the FEV1 fell by an average of 15.9 percent in the placebo group but only 4.4 percent in the pitrakinra group.

"These latest findings with pitrakinra are exciting and novel, and will breathe new life into the debate surrounding the role of the Th2 cytokine cascade in asthma pathogenesis and how best to design drugs to attenuate their effects," Patrick G. Holt and Peter D. Sly, M.D., from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Subiaco, Australia, write in an accompanying editorial.

The trial was funded by Aerovance, Inc.

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