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Asthma flare-ups reduced by antibody injection according to trials

September 20, 2016

woman-using-asthma-inhalerInjections of a potential new therapy – benralizumab – over the course of a year have reduced the frequency of asthma flare-ups in people with the most severe form of asthma, two trials suggest. In two trials, the progressively worsening symptoms associated with severe asthma reduced in frequency with benralizumab injections. Asthma exacerbations (asthma attack), or flare-ups, are progressively worsening symptoms of swollen and inflamed airways, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing. People with severe, uncontrolled asthma often have high levels of eosinophils in their blood and airways – known as eosinophilia – which is associated with frequent asthma exacerbations. Benralizumab is a monoclonal antibody therapy that uses antibodies that are made in a lab rather than by a person’s immune system. The antibodies recruit other parts of the immune system to rapidly clear away eosinophils – immune cells that play a role in allergies and asthma. Cytokine interleukin-5 (IL-5) is the main driver of eosinophil proliferation, maturation, activation, and survival. Mepolizumab and reslizumab target the IL-5 molecule directly to prevent the eosinophil matura

September 1, 2016

biologicsNew analysis suggests common and costly medications made from living cells can be equivalent even when manufactured by different company.

Generic forms of a biologic drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis appear to be as safe and effective as their brand-name counterparts, a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analysis suggests. Biologics, or medical products made from living cells, are the fastest growing sector of the pharmaceutical market. These drugs are complicated to manufacture and companies have argued that generic forms – while they would be cheaper for consumers and the health care system – cannot be considered interchangeable with established drugs that have been on the market for years. The new findings, published Aug. 2 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, come at a time when many of these biologics are coming off patent and generic versions – known as biosimilars – could save a lot of money. “The billion-dollar question has been whether these ‘generic biologics’ are the same as the brand-name versions,” says study leader G. Caleb Alexander, MD, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg Sc

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