According to the American Lung Association, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in this country. More than often, patients go through potentially life-threatening exacerbations, including days-long flare-ups of symptoms, shortness of breath, swelling and mucus.
Now, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that a drug used as a therapeutic for asthma, has failed to reduce symptoms of COPD. The drug is called benralizumab and is interleukin-5 receptor alpha-directed cytolytic monoclonal antibody that is FDA approved to treat severe eosinophilic asthma—the presence of high amounts of eosinophils (a particular type of immune cell) exacerbates the symptoms of COPD.
"COPD is a life-altering condition that causes serious long-term disability for patients," said Dr. Criner, Chair and Professor of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Director of the Temple Lung Center and corresponding author on the study. "Discovering treatments that prevent and/or limit exacerbations is a priority for clinicians and researchers as we seek to improve the quality of life for patients. Unfortunately benralizumab did not accomplish that objective in these studies, but the findings will inform current and future avenues of exploration for new treatments."
However, an earlier phase II trial found that benralizumab had a non-statistically significant reduction in COPD exacerbation rate for patients with eosinophilic inflammation in their airways.
"The findings in these two trials suggest that eosinophil depletion may not completely ameliorate exacerbation outcomes for patients with COPD," added Dr. Criner. "However, as one of the nation's premier lung-disease research centers, the Temple Lung Center continues to investigate alternative treatment options and offer patients access to leading-edge clinical trials."
Source: Temple Health