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Targeting cytokines to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Cytokines play a key role in orchestrating and perpetuating the chronic airway inflammation in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), making them attractive targets for treating these disorders. Asthma and some cases of COPD are mainly driven by type 2 immune responses, which comprise increased airway eosinophils, T helper 2 (TH2) cells and group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) and the secretion of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13. Clinical trials of antibodies that block these interleukins have shown reduced acute exacerbations and oral corticosteroid use and improvements in lung function and symptoms in selected patients. More recent approaches that block upstream cytokines, such as thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), show promise in improving patient outcome. Importantly, the clinical trials in cytokine blockade have highlighted the crucial importance of patient selection for the successful use of these expensive therapies and the need for biomarkers to better predict drug responses.

Authors:   Peter J. Barnes
Journal:   Nature Reviews Immunology
Year:   2018
Pages:   1
DOI:   10.1038/s41577-018-0006-6
Publication date:   06-Apr-2018
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