A study from MedImmune Inc, Gaithersburg, Md, suggests that its monoclonal antibody (MAb) targeting the interleukin-5 (IL-5) receptor could be an effective therapy for adults with mild asthma.

Preliminary results from the Phase 1 study, conducted to assess the safety and biological activity of the anti-IL-5 receptor MAb, suggest that the antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) enhanced molecule successfully depleted eosinophils, a class of white blood cells implicated in the pathology of asthma.

"We are very encouraged by the results to date from this Phase 1 study with this novel antibody," said Barbara White, MD, MedImmune’s vice president, clinical development, inflammatory disease. "The initial data from this trial suggest that our efforts to not only inhibit the cytokine involved in eosinophil production, but to actually directly deplete eosinophils, may offer a viable therapeutic approach to developing new treatments for patients with asthma."
Previous attempts to develop IL-5-targeted therapies in asthma have lacked efficacy,
attributable to an incomplete depletion of eosinophils in lung tissue. However, the anti-IL-5 receptor antibody shows potential to address that issue through its ability to both inhibit interaction of IL-5 with its receptor and actually deplete cells expressing the IL-5 receptor through
enhanced ADCC activity.