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European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: Launch of the EAACI Guidelines for the Use of Biologicals in Patients With Severe Asthma

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ZÜRICH, June 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — EAACI has launched its Guidelines for the use of Biologicals in Patients with Severe Asthma at the EAACI Digital Congress 2020.

Prof. Marek Jutel, EAACI President began by highlighting the significant burden of severe asthma on patients, families and healthcare systems. “Management of severe asthma proves to be difficult due to disease heterogeneity, coexisting comorbidities and especially because of complexities in care pathways and differences in national and regional healthcare systems. Better understanding of the mechanisms of the disease has enabled a stratified approach to the management of severe asthma, supporting the use of targeted treatments with biologicals. However, many unmet needs remain: how to select a certain biological as they all target overlapping disease phenotypes? How to enhance response? What are the best strategies to enhance the respondent’s rate? What is the optimal duration of treatment and its cost-effectiveness? And what is the appropriate regimen – in the clinic or home-based?”

What is novel in the EAACI guidelines for the management of severe asthma is the inclusion of the GRADE approach in formulating recommendations for each biological and asthma outcome, separate recommendations for exacerbations, for lung function and more.

“It is clear that biologicals in the context of severe asthma is a very rapidly evolving field. After the first EAACI position paper on Biologicals and allergic diseases, these EAACI Guidelines for the use of Biologicals in Patients with Severe Asthma represent a desk reference tool of utmost importance for healthcare providers, patients, regulators and healthcare systems providing specific recommendations for each biological in the context of each independent outcome,” says Prof. Oscar Palomares, Complutense University of Madrid, Past Chair of EAACI Biologicals Working Group, current EAACI ExCom member and Biologicals Guidelines Project Co-Chair.

A management algorithm for the use of biologicals in the clinic is further proposed, together with future approaches and research priorities. “EAACI advocates for a triple decision chart based on phenotypic traits, biomarkers and outcomes, added to this is shared decision making to reset individual goals and define response together with the patient. Efficacy is tested after 4-6 months – if there is a response, intervention is to be continued according to the preset target and while continuously monitoring for safety. Real life evidence must be collected through registries, real world trials and health economics indicators as the basis for the next steps. If the response is suboptimal it is important to look at the airway inflammation and to the airway hyperreactvity. If the eosinophilic inflammation persists, several factors can be improved, for example adherence to background controller treatment or other options can be considers such as switching to a biological targeting a different path, or checking for other immune mechanisms. If neutrophilic inflammation is present macrolides can be considered. If there is no inflammation non-T2 asthma approaches like dual bronchodilators and in very selective cases bronchial thermoplasty can be considered,” says Prof. Dr. Ioana Agache, University of Brasov Romania, Biologicals Guidelines Project Co-Chair and EAACI Past President.

The rising use of biologicals (monoclonal antibodies) in modern medicine, their remarkable potential and possible challenges were also discussed at the EAACI Digital Congress 2020 by its Special Guest, Sir Gregory Paul Winter, Nobel Prize Winner for Biochemistry in 2018.

“For inflammatory disease monoclonal antibodies are finding their place on the front line. Although inflammatory diseases such as severe asthma can be treated with chemical drugs such as corticosteroids their broad mechanism of action may also bring a range of undesirable side effects including fluid retention, hypertension and bone loss, particularly with extended use. Ideally treatments should have a more specific mode of action and avoid these side effects. That is why monoclonal antibodies which have such specific modes of action in blocking the interaction of key proteins or receptors are so attractive. And the availability of a range of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies against proteins involved in inflammation provides the opportunity to identify in the clinic those targets which are most relevant. Over the last 30 years biologicals have become increasingly important in medicine. The limitations in early use of biologicals were overcome by the recombinant DNA technology leading to a tsunami of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. These biologicals are of high efficiency and exquisite specificity, they have a long half-life in serum and properties and functions can be tailored to order. Their impact has already been immense and likely to become greater still,” says Sir Gregory Winter, University of Cambridge, Nobel Prize Laureate 2018.

Under these promising auspices, EAACI hopes its new Guidelines will be a cornerstone for clinicians, researchers, scientific societies and medical agencies in the years to come.

About EAACI:

The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) is an association of clinicians, researchers and allied health professionals founded in 1956. EAACI is dedicated to improving the health of people affected by allergic diseases. With more 12 000 members from 124 countries and over 75 National Allergy Societies, EAACI is the primary source of expertise in Europe and worldwide for all aspects of allergy.

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