Home Medizin Forscher identifizieren neues Therapeutikum für Patienten mit der seltenen Autoimmunerkrankung EGPA

Forscher identifizieren neues Therapeutikum für Patienten mit der seltenen Autoimmunerkrankung EGPA

von NFI Redaktion

Researchers from McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, as part of an international team, have identified a new therapy for patients with a rare autoimmune disease called eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA). They found that a biological medication called Benralizumab is not inferior to Mepolizumab in treating EGPA.

In a clinical study involving 140 patients with the rare disease, researchers directly compared two biological medications, Mepolizumab and Benralizumab. Patients received monthly subcutaneous injections of either 300 mg Mepolizumab or 30 mg Benralizumab for one year. The results of the study were published on February 23, 2024 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Our results show that Benralizumab was as effective as Mepolizumab in reducing exacerbations and achieving disease remission during the 52 weeks of the study.

Parameswaran Nair, Professor at McMaster’s Department of Medicine and Respiratory Therapist at St. Joe’s Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health

Nair, one of the lead researchers of the study, worked closely with Nader Khalidi, a Professor in McMaster’s Department of Medicine and Rheumatologist at St. Joe’s, to design the study and recruit patients.

EGPA, also known as Churg-Strauss Syndrome, is a rare autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of small to medium-sized blood vessels and high levels of eosinophils in the blood and tissues. This can lead to damage in the lungs, skin, heart, gastrointestinal tract, and nerves, with most patients experiencing respiratory and lung issues.

The researchers found that approximately 16% more patients in the Benralizumab group were able to discontinue oral corticosteroid intake compared to the Mepolizumab group. Typically, EGPA patients rely on oral corticosteroids like Prednisone for symptom control despite the side effects.

Mepolizumab and Benralizumab are biological drugs derived from living organisms or their cells and often produced using biotechnology.

The two biologics used in this study work by targeting the signals or receptors of eosinophils, a type of immune cell found in high concentrations in the blood and tissues of EGPA patients. By blocking the signals or receptors that attract eosinophils to various tissues like the lungs, Mepolizumab and Benralizumab effectively reduce eosinophils and alleviate symptoms.

The study builds on a long research history of eosinophilic diseases at the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joe’s. Groundbreaking work by Freddy Hargreave on severe eosinophilic asthma led to a method for counting eosinophils in sputum samples for accurate asthma diagnosis.

In 2009, Hargreave, Nair, and colleagues were the first to demonstrate the efficacy of Mepolizumab in patients with severe Prednisone-dependent asthma. By 2017, Nair had further demonstrated the efficacy of Benralizumab in the same condition. Both landmark studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This study was funded by AstraZeneca.


Journal Reference:

Wechsler, ME, et al. (2024). Benralizumab versus Mepolizumab in eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis. The New England Journal of Medicine. doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa2311155.

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