Specific immunotherapy against allergies is becoming increasingly precise thanks to molecular diagnostics and a new biological drug for patients with severe asthma: these are two of the new features that Professor Giorgio Walter Canonica, Head of the Personalized Medicine Centre: Asthma and Allergology in Humanitas, guest in the Tg2 Medicine 33 studio, talks about.
With respect to the treatment of allergies “We have no new treatments, but we have an advance in the possibility of correctly prescribing specific immunotherapy. We have molecular diagnostics at our disposal and this allows us to identify the portion of allergen and therefore find out what is called genuine sensitization, the one that really determines the problem for the patient, and not the general sensitization that is normally found with skin tests. This therefore allows us to prescribe specific immunotherapy correctly and as precisely as possible”.
Biological drugs against severe asthma
“For about a month now, after about ten years, our patients have been provided with a new monoclonal antibody (therefore a biological drug) against interleukin 5 (mepolizumab), which is useful in those with severe asthma, in cases where there is an underlying an eosinophilic inflammation”.
It is therefore only indicated in patients in whom the allergy involves eosinophils, a type of white blood cell.
The importance of inhalers
“It is not enough to find the right medicine, but it is also necessary to administer it with the inhaler that is most suitable for the patient in question. The inhaler is very important: providing the patient with the inhaler and the package leaflet with the instructions, only 20% can use it correctly, so the remaining 80% will not do the therapy properly.