A new inhaled medication has the potential to treat mild asthma and allergies by interrupting the production of an immune system protein that triggers allergic reactions, a new study reports.
The drug, quilizumab, targets the blood cells that produce a protein called immunoglobulin type E (IgE), that serves a key role in allergies.
Quilizumab lowered total levels of IgE in the blood of people with allergies and mild asthma, and kept them low for a month, researchers report in the July 2 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.
"The subjects who received the drug not only had a reduction in their total IgE level, it also seemed to block production of new IgE in response to the allergen they inhaled," said study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Harris, principal medical director of immunology, tissue growth and repair for the drug manufacturer Genentech, which produces quilizumab and funded the study.
However, one expert noted that the drug has yet to prove itself against moderate to severe asthma.