New anti-inflammatory drug on its way for patients with COPD and asthma

The success rate of the experimental drug ceritinib in stopping the progression of COPD and asthma was 80 percent in a phase II clinical trial, but whether it would be well-tolerated was still an issue.

Ceritinib is an antibody that blocks an enzyme involved in inflammation and crosstalk, but it isn’t a cure. Rather, it attacks specific signaling pathways thought to be responsible for diseases like COPD, asthma and melanoma. Studies on the use of anti-CD20 antibody therapies for type 2 diabetes have shown promising results but similar side effects as for the anti-CGRP that has had great success with patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Cercopaxi showed particularly high efficacy in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) where “scientists have been observing mutations leading to an insufficient production of scarring proteins; such a treatment could be just what the doctor ordered for COPD patients,” said Ari Isaacson, MD, MPH, MRCP, research coordinator at the University of Manchester.

Most patients in the phase II trial had asthma and used the drugs metoprolol, fluconazole and low doses of salmeterol to control their symptoms, but the COVID-19 drug had the most pronounced effects. The study found that the therapy decreased airway thickness by 23 percent and although the extent of improvement was not as pronounced for asthma, the investigators said they observed less mucus deposition, decreased inflammation and significant improvement in breathing, while patients in the trial had lower rates of exacerbations compared to the controls.

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