Positive results from monoclonal antibody clinical trial
Amal Assa’ad, MD, clinical director, was lead author for “Antibody Against IL-5 Reduces Numbers of Esophageal Intraepithelial Eosinophils in Children with Eosinophilic Esophagitis,” published in Gastroenterology. This multicenter, international project showed positive results using an anti-IL-5 antibody to treat eosinophilic esophagitis in children and was the first clinical trial to document the use of a monoclonal antibody in children as young as two years of age. This is promising news for the treatment of eosinophilic disorders as these conditions are chronic and often present at an early age. This clinical trial was based on basic and translational work by Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD, division director.
New faculty member targets home environment in asthma outcomes
Recently appointed faculty member Terri Moncrief, MD, researches the impact of single parenthood, family routines and allergic sensitizations on asthma outcomes. Moncrief, under the direction of Robert Kahn, MD, MPH, is executing a multidimensional analysis of the home environment and its effect on asthma morbidity in disadvantaged populations. Several of her studies were presented at national conferences, and her research will help develop tools to identify at-risk children and guide intervention strategies.
MicroRNA biomarkers and regulators of allergic disease
Rothenberg has identified a dysregulated microRNA signature that correlates with disease activity for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a severe food allergy. Promisingly, the most elevated microRNA in the signature, miR-21, regulates T cell polarization and activation in preclinical models. Rothenberg also identified a microRNA, miR-375, that regulates interleukin-13, a key immune hormone in allergic reactions. These findings are proof of principle that microRNAs are involved in fine-tuning interleukin-13-mediated immune responses and show promise for use of microRNAs, such as miR-21 and miR-375, as noninvasive biomarkers and therapeutic targets for allergic disease. The ability to detect and measure the status of EoE with a noninvasive blood test would be a significant benefit to individuals and families.