An advanced clinical trial of a new drug known as Fevipiprant to treat asthma led by scientists at the University of Leicester has shown promising results. The Leicester and Vancouver scientists team in Canada have shown that, the new drug Fevipiprant reduces the amount of smooth muscle in patient’s airway linings in phase II trials. Smooth muscle is a type of muscle found in internal organs that is not under voluntary control and an increase in airway smooth muscle has been strongly linked to reduced airflow to the lungs which is significantly related to asthma-related deaths. Globally 339 million people are suffering from asthma and prevalence is rising with low and middle-income countries disproportionally suffer the most severe cases.
Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Leicester, Chris Brightling said: “Our research shows for the first time that Fevipiprant not only reduces inflammation in the airways, but also reduces the amount of muscle in the lining of the airway. This is likely to explain some of the effects seen in the symptoms and breathing tests following treatment.”
Professor Brightling added, “From previous trials conducted we found that Fevipiprant led to improvements in symptoms, breathing tests, inflammation and also helped to repair the lining of patient’s airways. Our latest research gives us a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the efficacy of the drug and how changes in one part of the airway wall can impact on others.”
Fevipiprant is a D2 antagonist developed by Novartis and using bronchial biopsies taken from a previously completed clinical trial, the researchers studied the effects of Fevipiprant on airway smooth muscle mass. The professor further said, “Our findings suggest that Fevipiprant could have positive long-term effects upon the progression of the disease through remodelling, as well as improve symptoms and reduce attacks.” The research was published in Science Translational Medicine. Novartis’ phase III clinical trial for evaluating the safety and efficacy of the drug in patients with uncontrolled severe asthma is expected to complete by the end of 2019.
– Arpitha Shetty,