Candidate asthma and allergy drug passes early test

Guest post by Nathan Seppa

By suppressing an inflammation-causing antibody, an experimental drug can lessen allergy and asthma symptoms for months at a time in some people, researchers report in the July 2 Science Translational Medicine.

The prospective drug, called quilizumab by its maker Genentech, is designed to bog down production of immunoglobulin E, or IgE. People with allergies to pollen, dust mites, grass, animal dander or other airborne substances react by sneezing, wheezing and coughing — often triggered by airway inflammation tied to IgE. When researchers gave up to three monthly injections of quilizumab to 24 people with allergies and to 15 others who had allergic asthma, they registered lower IgE levels in the blood than people getting placebo shots.

Also, patients directly exposed to allergens after three injections of quilizumab experienced somewhat better breathing than those getting placebos, the scientists showed. The effect lasted six months after the last dose.   

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