Patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a history of frequent “attacks” who were given a drug called asstegolimab reported an improvement in health-related quality of life compared to those on placebo, according to the results of a study published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
The COPD-ST2OP study took place at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Center – a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University. It is the first published clinical study of anti-ST2 treatment in COPD.
COPD makes breathing difficult because the airways narrow and the lungs become damaged. Three million people are living with COPD in the UK and each year the condition causes 115,000 emergency hospital admissions and 24,000 deaths.
“ST2” is a receptor on the outside of some cells that’s activated by a substance called interleukin-33 and has been linked to inflammatory conditions as diverse as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and septic shock. By targeting ST2 receptors, scientists believe symptoms of these diseases can be reduced.
81 patients aged 40 and over with moderate to very severe COPD who had at least two “exacerbations” in the past year were recruited for the study. Participants were current or former smokers who had smoked for at least ten years. They were randomized into two groups: 42 received asstegolimab injections every four weeks for 44 weeks. 39 participants were injected with a placebo. Participants were asked to continue their current medications and inhalers for the duration of the study.
The researchers found that the rate of exacerbations (or attacks) was reduced by 22% over 48 weeks in those who received asstegolimab compared to placebo. Although this does not represent a statistically significant reduction in the rate of exacerbations, this benefit is greater than previously seen with treatments that targeted other inflammatory pathways in people with COPD. There was a statistically significant improvement in quality of life in asstegolimab-treated patients compared to placebo. The researchers showed that these benefits were greater in patients with certain inflammatory signals in their blood and with certain genetic markers.
Professor Chris Brightling, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Leicester and Principal Investigator of the COPD-ST2OP study, said: “In patients with moderate to very severe COPD and a history of frequent exacerbations, we found that compared to placebo patients Those who received asstegolimab for 48 weeks reduced the frequency of attacks and improved their condition. Improvements related to measurements of the participants’ blood and their genetic makeup.
dr Neil Greening, an associate professor at the University of Leicester who was involved in the COPD-ST2OP study, said: “We haven’t had any new treatments for COPD for a number of years. This early study of asteogolimab suggests we can reduce the number of lung attacks and improve quality of life in patients with COPD. The next few years will be an exciting time for COPD research and treatment.”
dr Ahmed Yousuf, Clinical Academic Fellow at the University of Leicester and lead author of the publication, said: “These early results are really exciting and represent a potential new treatment for COPD Conduct patient groups and subdivide patient groups according to the type and severity of their COPD symptoms in order to tailor medication to different groups.”
The publication “Astegolimab, an anti-ST2, in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD-ST2OP): a placebo-controlled phase 2a study” is published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine
Randomized controlled/clinical study
subject of research
Astegolimab, an anti-ST2, in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD-ST2OP): a placebo-controlled phase 2a study
Article publication date
March 24, 2022
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