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Monoclonal Antibody Reduces Asthma Attacks in Urban Youth

August 16, 2022 by TWN Staff
Kansas City. (Photo by Colton Sturgeon via UnSplash)

WASHINGTON — A monoclonal antibody, mepolizumab, decreased asthma attacks by 27% in Black and Hispanic children and adolescents who have a form of severe asthma, are prone to asthma attacks and live in low-income urban neighborhoods, a National Institutes of Health clinical trial has found. 

The findings were published today in the journal The Lancet.

The study investigators undertook an innovative exploratory analysis of gene activity in cells collected from study participants’ nasal secretions at the beginning and end of the trial to try to help explain how mepolizumab works and link this to its clinical effect. 

The antibody tamped down the activity of three networks of genes associated with airway inflammation and asthma attacks in the study population but did not reduce the activity of six other such networks.

“Asthma exacts a heavy toll, especially on disadvantaged school-aged children of color who live in urban areas,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the division of the NIH that sponsored the trial.

“The results of this study indicate that more research is needed to develop therapies that substantially reduce asthma attacks among these children,” Fauci said.

Additional information about the trial is available at ClinicalTrials.gov under study identifier NCT03292588.

Asthma is caused by chronic inflammation of the airways. During an asthma attack, the airway lining swells, muscles around the airways contract, and the airways produce extra mucus, substantially narrowing the space for air to move in and out of the lungs. 

Black and Hispanic children who live in low-income urban environments in the United States are at particularly high risk for asthma that is prone to attacks. 

An estimated 2.3 million U.S. children and adolescents experienced an asthma attack in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

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