New Asthma Treatments: Innovation to Help Your InspirationPosted on September 19, 2012 by Barbara Cybart in Asthma Research
Modern allopathic medicine has two types of medication that manage asthma symptoms: long-term controller medication (such as corticosteroids), and reliever medication (such as bronchodilators).
In the future, many more types of new asthma treatments are expected to make it onto the market.
Many of the new asthma treatments will target the reactions between cells, cell receptors, enzymes, proteins and antibodies to control the inflammation appearing in the respiratory tracts of asthmatics.
The first of these types of new asthma treatments, will aim to reduce eosinophilaccumulation. In a normally functioning body, eosinophils destroy parasites, while in some asthmatics they accumulate and damage lung tissue. Eosinophil growth and accumulation is promoted by the molecule – Interleukin-5. Researchers are currently searching for an antibody which would inhibit this molecule’s development.
Another new type of asthma treatment is controlling pathogens. Through stimulation of the body’s natural immune system by means of inhalation therapies, researchers hope to prevent respiratory infections, which are a trigger for some asthmatics.
A more specialized new asthma treatment is medications which aim to block inflammatory process. Researchers are theorizing that the prostaglandinson inflammatory cells spark asthma symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing and diminished lung function when exposed to allergenswhich trigger reaction in many asthmatics. To prevent inflammation and swelling of an asthmatic’s respiratory tract when coming into contact with an allergen, medications are under being developed that disrupt the prostaglandin’s effect.
A new asthma treatment type targets a substance called immunoglobulinE (IgE) . People with allergy-related disorders, such as asthma likely have increased levels of IgE in their blood. Xolair is an example of an omalizumab, which is injected by a syringe to block IgE build-up. Xolair is the first new asthma treatment in the class of anti-IgE drugs. However, this treatment will only work for people with an increased level of IgE, therefore, only people with asthma and allergies.
Though, many new asthma treatments will be completely innovative products, new uses of pre-existing medications, such as the combining controller and reliever medication in one inhaler are also under development. With, “Combination Medications”, like Advair and Symbicort, there are certain advantages such as, convenience, lowered doses of steroids which minimize side effects and lowered costs. However, there are still some drawbacks, for instance less dosage flexibility and use of the medication to relieve sudden attacks can lead to receiving a much higher dose of the steroid than recommended. It is for these reasons that the research into combination inhalers is on-going.
New asthma treatments and research aim to find better way of managing the disease for the 300 million asthmatics around the world today. Of the 300 million asthmatics globally, 250 thousand people die from asthma every year, despite current medications being effective and safe, demonstrating the vast amount of room for improvement. Hopefully, advancements and research and the development of new asthma treatments will allow asthma to no longer be defined as an incurable disease.