Researchers at AllerGen’s Clinical Investigator Collaborative (CIC) have discovered that an antibody can block a specific protein in the lungs and reduce the symptoms of inflammation and bronchoconstriction experienced by people with mild allergic asthma.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted at five CIC sites across the country and involved the work of AllerGen Network researchers Dr. Gail Gauvreau, Dr. Paul O’Byrne, Dr. Louis-Philippe Boulet, Dr. Donald Cockcroft, Dr. Mark FitzGerald, Dr. Beth Davis and Dr. Richard Leigh.
Epithelial cells in the lung’s airways produce a protein called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) that causes inflammation. This study proved for the first time that epithelial cells continually produce TSLP in humans with asthma and that blocking TSLP with an antibody can reduce the symptoms of mild allergic asthma.
These findings have implications for the development of new antibody treatments not only for allergic asthma, but for severe asthma as well, according to Dr. O’Byrne. Dr. Gavreau presented the study at the American Thoracic Society conference in San Diego, CA.