Child using inhaler for asthma

Monoclonal antibody reduces asthma exacerbations in urban youth: Q&A with Stephen Teach, M.D.

Child using inhaler for asthmaNew research found that mepolizumab, a monoclonal antibody, decreased asthma flare-ups by 27% in Black and Hispanic children and adolescents who have a severe form of asthma, are prone to asthma attacks, and live in low-income urban neighborhoods.

Stephen Teach, M.D., principal investigator of the IMPACT DC asthma program and co-author of the NIAID-funded Inner City Asthma Consortium-conducted study, offers insight on the importance of this work and what it means for the future of pediatric asthma care at Children’s National Hospital.

What has been the hold-up in this field and how does this work move the field forward?

Urban, Black, and Hispanic children with asthma continue to suffer a disproportionate share of asthma-related morbidity. These findings show that innovative, phenotype-specific therapies are necessary to address their needs.

The study’s investigators were able to document a significant treatment effect in a particularly at-risk population and demonstrated specific gene pathways that were downregulated by treatment with mepolizumab.

What did you find that excites you about this work?

The exciting part of the Inner-City Asthma Consortium’s work has always been that it not only studies whether or not phenotype-driven interventions improve outcomes in high-risk kids, but how those interventions work from a fundamental mechanistic perspective. Those insights drive the science, and the potential clinical applications, forward in an iterative fashion.

How is Children’s National leading in this space?

Investigators from Children’s National continue to be national leaders in developing and testing innovative interventions to address the national disparities in pediatric asthma care and outcomes.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet was co-authored by William Sheehan, M.D., allergist.

The Division of Pulmonary Medicine at Children’s National has been ranked as one of the top ten programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.