Several biological therapies have recently been developed targeting specific pathways of inflammation in asthma. Although they have the potential for greater therapeutic benefit than standard therapies in poorly controlled patients, they require reliable identification of the appropriate patient for each particular biological therapeutic approach.
- In Australia, asthma affects about 10% of people, and about 5% of these have severe asthma.
- Severe asthma is associated with significant morbidity and is a considerable burden to both the individual and the community.
- New treatment strategies are required to lessen the burden of this disease, which includes frequent exacerbations, hospitalisation, corticosteroid use and poor quality of life.
- Asthma is regarded as a heterogeneous disorder with distinct phenotypes.
- Over the past two decades significant advances have been made in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning the various types of asthma. This has led to the development of several biological therapies that are more precisely targeted to antagonise key molecules in the inflammatory process.