Despite widely available and effective treatments, achieving asthma control is still an unmet need for many patients. One of the explanations resides perhaps in the heterogeneity of the disease. Asthma is in fact, as we understand it today, a complex syndrome made up of numerous disease variants or asthma phenotypes; when the different underlying mechanisms are identified, the more ambitious term “endotype” is used, with consequent therapeutic implications. Remarkable efforts have been made to identify the features of difficult-to-control (usually severe) asthma, which are different from those described for mild-to-moderate asthma, setting the stage for the development of new and even individualized therapies. As different drugs target different pathways, it is necessary to determine the individual profile of pathophysiological abnormalities for each patient. The most fascinating options of the new asthma treatments are the monoclonal antibodies targeted against key inflammatory cytokines, and the most proximately available treatments within the next years are discussed here. Also, current evidence and understanding of somehow older therapeutic options, such as anticholinergics, thermoplasty, or omalizumab, are reviewed from a phenotypical approach.
Part of the book: Asthma
Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) is a rare type of anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibody-associated vasculitis (AAV) with unique features, such as involvement of eosinophils in the pathogenesis, which requires different therapies from those used for other AAV. Conventional treatment includes glucocorticoids (GC) and immunosuppressants. GC are the cornerstone of the initial treatment of EGPA, but relapses are frequent. Cyclophosphamide is typically used in combination with GC for patients with life- and/or organ-threatening disease manifestations. Azathioprine and methotrexate are recommended to maintain remission after induction with cyclophosphamide or as a GC-sparing agent. Nowadays, a better comprehension of the physiopathology of EGPA has opened new therapeutic targets, such as interleukin-5, which has a key role in the refractory disease, relapses, and GC dependence, especially for asthma manifestations. Mepolizumab is the first anti-IL5 antibody approved to treat EGPA. Another anti-IL5 monoclonal antibody, reslizumab, and an anti-IL5 receptor monoclonal antibody, benralizumab, are now being investigated for EGPA.
Part of the book: Cells of the Immune System