While it has been thought that cytokines (secreted signalling molecules) such as interleukin-4 or interleukin-13 have a critical role in onset and development of clinical asthma for some 20 years, confirmatory evidence has until now been lacking.
Dr Malinda Longphre, Aerovance Inc, Berkeley, California, USA and colleagues did two separate phase two clinical trials, in which patients with asthma were given pitrakinra. In study one, 12 patients were given 25mg pitrakinra by subcutaneous injection once daily, while a further twelve were given placebo. In the second study, 16 patients received either 60mg pitrakinra twice daily by nebulisation, while a further 16 were given placebo. The patients in each study inhaled allergens before and four weeks after treatment (known as ‘allergen challenge’, which induces an asthma attack).
Allergen inhalation causes an allergic reaction in the lungs which reduces their capacity to expel air. The primary endpoint for study one was maximum percentage decrease in forced expiratory volume (FEV1)** in one second over 4-10 hours after allergen challenge, whereas in study two it was average percentage decrease in FEV1 over 4-10 hours after allergen challenge. Smaller decreases in FEV1 during the asthma attack for the pitrakinra group versus placebo would mean that the allergic response had been decreased by pitrakinra.
The researchers found that in study one, the maximum percentage decrease in FEV1 was 17.1% in the pitrakinra group and 23.1% in the placebo group – a relative difference of 26%. In study two, the average percentage decrease in FEV1 was 4.4% in the pitrakinra group compared with 15.9% in the placebo group – (more than 3 and half times less in the pitrakinra group).
The authors conclude: “The effects of pitrakinra on late phase asthmatic response are promising when compared with similar studies with other successful anti-inflammatory asthma therapies…..whether the effect is due to inhibition of interleukin-13 alone, or both interleukin-13 an interleukin-4, is not yet known. Future studies of this drug, as well as molecules that specifically inhibit interleukin-13, in asthmatic individuals of all levels of severity over longer periods of time are clearly warranted.”
In an accompanying Comment, Dr Patrick Holt and Dr Peter Sly, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Subiaco, Western Australia, Australia, say: “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.”
Tony Kirby | alfa
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy