When you have an uncontrolled and treatment resistant form of asthma like I do, or any chronic disease for the matter, the future can sometimes feel bleak. Having dealt with this condition for most of my life, I’ve to come to expect not a whole lot. That includes visits with both my Primary care providers and my lung specialists. Don’t get me wrong, they’re wonderful and very knowledgably people, but like many others involved in care, they simply don’t have anything new to offer for my type of asthma. They’ve tried everything under the sun on me and nothing seems to work. It’s frustrating for everyone involved.
The vibe however, was very different during a recent visit with my Pulmonologist. Instead of the usual “lets continue doing what we’ve doing and see what happens” spiel, he shifted to a more upbeat tone and started praising the results of a new biologic thats nearing the final stages of development. His words….”We need to try you on this drug as soon as becomes available—it might actually help you”. Wow, I haven’t seen him that excited about a drug in a long time, especially about a new drug that might help me.
Tezepelumab, an anti –TSLP drug, which is being developed through a collaboration with Amgen and AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical companies, is the first monoclonal antibody that works on the primary source of inflammation: namely the cells that line the airways, which is the first point of contact for viruses, allergens, pollutants and other environmental insults. And unlike other biologics, Tezepelumab seems to work on a much broader range of severe asthma subtypes. In clinical trials, it helped not only those with allergic or Th2 inflammation- driven asthma, ie high eosinophils, IgE, FeNO levels etc, but also those who don’t or who may have unclear or multiple drivers of inflammation.
Now its clear to me that this drug was developed primarily for those asthmatics with typical Th2 type inflammation, as the majority who saw improvement were in that group, so Im not sure if the latter findings were in intended, or if the drug company is using those results to extend its market into this niche or extended group of patients. Its believed that nearly a 3rd of all severe asthmatics fall into this 2nd category. The fact this drug appeared to help 39% in that group is encouraging though. If the drug helps that subset of asthmatics, even a little bit, that’s good news.
Game Changer?.. who knows. I’ve gotten my hopes up before, but I admit this one sounds like it has potential. The fact that they are carrying out clinical trials in COPD patients as well, gives it even more weight in my opinion. At the very least Id like to thank both companies for working on an asthma drug that seems to work on many types of severe asthma, not just the Eosinophilic type.
Tezepelumab will hopefully be launched by the end of 2021.