Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


Cancer drug shows potential in treating severe asthma

US researchers explore the effects of imatinib on reducing mast cell activity in poorly controlled asthma.

Micrograph of a mast cell

Source: CNRI / Science Photo Library

Mast cells can persist in the airway despite high doses of glucocorticoids.

Mast cells are associated with severe asthma and airway hyperresponsiveness and in some patients they persist in the airway despite high doses of glucocorticoids.

The tyrosine kinase inhibitor, imatinib, used to treat leukaemia, targets a receptor known as KIT that is critical to mast cell function. In a paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine[1] (online, 18 May 2017), researchers explored whether the drug might have an effect on mast cells in 62 patients with poorly controlled severe asthma.

At three and six months, the team found that patients randomly assigned to imatinib had a greater reduction from baseline in airway responsiveness compared with those who received placebo. Imatinib treatment was also associated with evidence of reduced mast cell activity.

The researchers say that the findings indicate that strategies to target the KIT receptor and decrease mast cell counts could therefore be an important approach in severe asthma.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2017.20202936

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Paediatric Drug Handling

    Paediatric Drug Handling

    Written for new pharmaceutical scientists, this book provides a background in paediatric pharmacy and a comprehensive introduction to children's medication.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy

    Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy

    This established textbook covers every aspect of drug properties from the design of dosage forms to their delivery by all routes to sites of action in the body.

    £48.00Buy now
  • Prescribing Medicines for Children

    Prescribing Medicines for Children

    Prescribing Medicines for Children is designed to improve understanding on all aspects of paediatric prescribing, from the development of suitable drugs through to their practical administration.

    £60.00Buy now
  • FASTtrack: Pharmacology

    FASTtrack: Pharmacology

    FASTtrack: Pharmacology is a study guide providing an account of drug action, as well as dealing with molecular pharmacology at a more advanced level.

    £25.00Buy now
  • Drugs in Use

    Drugs in Use

    Optimise drug therapy for your patients. These case studies help you bridge the gap between theoretical medicines knowledge and practical applications.

    £43.00Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Micrograph of a mast cell
  • Molecular structure of imatinib

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.