Phase III trial shows new drug can help patients with severe asthma reduce oral steroids

Dr. Parameswaran Nair

An international study has shown that a new injectable drug (benralizumab) successfully targets the receptor of the immune system protein interleukin-5 (IL-5), allowing patients with hard-to-control asthma associated with blood or sputum eosinophils to reduce or discontinue oral steroids while maintaining asthma control and lung function.

The study was led by Dr. Parameswaran Nair, the Frederick E. Hargreave Teva Innovation Chair in Airway Diseases and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Respirology at McMaster University; a researcher at the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health; and an AllerGen Clinical Investigator Collaborative (CIC)-Severe Asthma Research Leader.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2017 International Congress in Washington, DC. It concluded that patients treated with benralizumab were more than four times as likely to reduce their dose of prednisone than those in the placebo group.

Benralizumab, manufactured by AstraZeneca, is not yet approved for clinical use in Canada or elsewhere.

Read the McMaster University news release.