News in brief: Dupilumab gains registration for paediatric uncontrolled asthma; Novel COPD treatment target identified by Aussie researchers; Gender discrimination still rife in medicine: RACP

Dupilumab gains registration for paediatric uncontrolled asthma

Dupilumab (Dupixent) has been approved by the TGA as add-on maintenance treatment for uncontrolled moderate-to-severe asthma in children aged 6 to 11 years.

The subcutaneously administered biologic is now registered for treatment of moderate to severe asthma with type 2 inflammation (elevated eosinophils or elevated FeNO) that is inadequately controlled despite therapy with other medicinal products for maintenance treatment.

Dupilumab is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the IL-4 and IL-13 proteins responsible for type 2 inflammation. It is already registered for use in adults with inadequately controlled chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (CRSwNP), severe atopic dermatitis in patients aged 6-11 years and for atopic dermatitis in patients aged 12 years and older

Professor Connie Katelaris, Immunologist/Allergist at Campbelltown Hospital, NSW, said there was an unmet need for treatments for children with severe asthma that remain uncontrolled.

“The availability of another therapy that helps control the condition while reducing reliance on systemic corticosteroids is very welcome.”

“The improvements in lung function and reduction in asthma exacerbations offered by dupilumab have the potential to make this a potential treatment of choice for many paediatric patients,” she said.

Manufacturer Sanofi Australia and New Zealand said it was now working with the Federal Government towards subsidised access to dupilumab for paediatric patients with uncontrolled severe asthma.

Novel COPD treatment target identified by Aussie researchers

A potential new drug target for the treatment and prevention of COPD has been identified by scientists at the Centenary Institute and University of Technology Sydney

The enzyme known as mast cell chymase-1 (CMA1) was shown by the researchers to actively promote and progress the development of COPD, and inhibiting was shown to provide protection in experimental models of COPD.

Lead investigators Dr Gang Liu, of the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation said elevated CMA1 levels were seen in the lung tissues of patients with severe COPD, and it was known to  induce macrophages to release pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α that cause COP

Inhibition of another enzyme known as mMCP5 confirmed the enzyme’s pivotal role in COPD, he said.

“We were able to show in experimental COPD, that inhibiting mMCP5 provided protection against inflammation and macrophage accumulation, harmful structural changes of the lung, emphysema and impaired lung function,” said Dr Liu said.

The study, Adverse roles of mast cell chymase-1 in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is published in the European Respiratory Journal.

Gender discrimination still rife in medicine: RACP

More than a third of RACP members have experienced gender-based discrimination in the workplace and half say they want the college to do more to address the issue, a survey suggests.

The figures were released last month as part of the RACP’s Gender Equity in Medicine Working Group Report, which recommended the college include combating sexism as a top priority in its official strategic plan.

While it stopped short of suggesting quotas, it also called on the RACP to “develop and implement initiatives” to track and improve the gender distribution of college leadership positions and committees.

“The college needs to play an important role in working with our members and relevant organisations to advocate for gender equity in medicine,” it added, pointing to flexible training and part-time work as key areas of improvement.

Some 1671 RACP members answered the poll, accounting for roughly 6% of the total membership, according to the report.

Over 80% said they thought it was appropriate for the RACP to play a leading role in promoting gender equity.

Already a member?

Login to keep reading.

Email me a login link

© 2022 the limbic