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Published on 5 March 2009

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New drug hope for asthma sufferers

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A new drug for people suffering from eosinophilic asthma is being pioneered by teams in the UK and Canada.

It is hoped that Mepolizumab will mean the end of traditional treatments that, although effective, can have severe side effects for many patients.

Says Professor Ian Pavord, from Asthma UK: “The possible benefits that Mepolizumab could bring to the half a million people with severe asthma in the UK are incredibly exciting.”

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), he says: “As well as reducing severe asthma attacks by up to 50%, this groundbreaking new antibody therapy could also enable people with severe asthma to stop their use of oral steroids.

The research investigates a persisting type of airway cell inflammation known as eosinophils, which Professor Pavord believes is key to the development of future treatments.

Five million people in the UK, including 1.1 million children, receive treatment for asthma. An asthma sufferer lives in one in five households in Britain, says Asthma UK.

Copyright Press Association 2009

New England Journal of Medicine



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