Cat taking your breath away? Omalizumab eases cat allergy-related asthma
Environmental exposure to cat allergens is common and cat allergy has been shown to be strongly associated with asthma and asthma severity. According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 17% of people in the U.S. aged 6-59 are sensitized to cat allergens. Concerns about the rising incidence and severity of allergic asthma have prompted research into new treatments.
In a study available in the February 2011 issue of The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Corren et al report on a study of the effectiveness of omalizumab, a human-engineered anti-IgE antibody, in managing the asthma symptoms caused by cat allergen. Patients with a history of cat allergen-induced asthma were randomly assigned treatment with omalizumab or a placebo drug. They were exposed to cat allergen for up to 1 hour in a controlled chamber at the beginning of the study and, again, after 16-weeks of treatment.
The authors found that patients who were treated with omalizumab had 44% less of a decrease in their breathing capacity than those who had received placebo. Additionally, omalizumab-treated patients were able to tolerate cat allergen exposure for longer periods of time and also experienced significant reductions in chest and nasal, and eye symptoms. The authors’ findings suggest that omalizumab is a promising treatment for reducing asthmatic and allergic symptoms brought on by exposure to cat allergen.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is the official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.