New immunological approaches and cytokine targets in asthma and allergy

R. G. Stirling, K. F. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The aims of current asthma treatment are to suppress airway inflammation and control symptoms, and corticosteroids maintain a commanding position in this role. Steroids effectively suppress inflammation in the majority of patients but have little impact on the natural history of this disease. In severe asthmatics, corticosteroids may have relatively less beneficial effects. Recent advances in understanding the inflammatory and immunological mechanisms of asthma have indicated many potential therapeutic avenues that may prevent or reverse abnormalities that underlie asthma. As the roles of effector cells, and of signalling and adhesion molecules are better understood, the opportunities to inhibit or prevent the inflammatory cascade have increased. In addition, there have been advances in the synthesis of proteins, monoclonal antibodies and new small molecule chemical entities, which may provide valuable flexibility in the therapeutic approach to asthma. The novel immunological approaches include the prevention of T-cell activation, attempts to influence the balance of T-helper cell (Th) populations to inhibit or prevent Th2-derived cytokine expression, and the inhibition or blockade of the downstream actions of these cytokines such as effects on immunoglobulin-E and eosinophils. These approaches provide broad as well as highly specific targeting, and also prospects for prevention and reversal of immunological and inflammatory abnormalities associated with asthma. Hopefully, the development of effective antiasthma agents with effects beyond those provided by current therapies coupled with lesser side-effects will further address the unmet needs of asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-1174
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Asthma
  • Cytokines
  • Gene therapy
  • Immunology
  • T-cells

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