Pfizer's Experimental Drug Could Potentially Treat Asthma

Medication targets the protein IL-33 that plays a role in asthma.

An experimental drug that targets the protein IL-33 manufactured by Pfizer could potentially reverse or slow the progression of asthma, according to a study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

"The tests are based on our recent research, which discovered IL-33 plays a significant role in the development of asthma," said researcher Simon Phipps, PhD. "While IL-33 is well known for causing bronchial inflammation in asthmatics, our research demonstrated for the first time that it also weakens the ability of asthmatics to fend off respiratory viral infections, a common trigger of asthma attacks."

The analysis built upon a preclinical study that found co-exposure to respiratory viruses and allergens played a role in asthma development.

"We found exposure to a respiratory virus, followed very closely by exposure to an allergen, induced the release of IL-33," said Jason Lynch, PhD. "The excess IL-33 protein was found not only to hinder recovery from the virus but also to promote the development of more severe and persistent symptoms of the disease.”

Researchers found that if the mouse models were exposed to an allergen before exposure to the virus, there was no difference in recovery process, according to the study.

"Our aim is to eventually come up with better treatment therapies that will reverse or slow down the progression of asthma rather than just ease the symptoms," said lead researcher Rhiannon Werder.