Editorial || FREE PAPER ||
Authors Garry M Walsh
Published 15 September 2007 Volume 2007:3(4) Pages 505—506
Garry M Walsh
Asthmatic and Allergy Inflammation Group, School of Medicine, University of Aberdeen, UK
Abstract: Asthma is now one of the most common chronic diseases in Western countries and is characterized by reversible airway obstruction, bronchial hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation. For many years, anti-inflammatory therapy in asthma has been largely reliant on glucocorticoids (GCs) – particularly in their inhaled form – and their use is associated with a striking reduction in the numbers of activated eosinophils, mast cells, and T cells in vivo. However, although GCs can be efficacious, they are also rather nonspecific in their actions and may not be of benefit to patients with severe asthma who experience virally-induced exacerbations of their disease. Their use also raises concerns regarding side effects and compliance particularly in children and adolescents. Furthermore, even in cases of good compliance, patients with moderate and severe asthma may experience significant residual symptoms including exacerbations of their disease that in some cases can be life-threatening (Walsh 2006). There is therefore a clear need for the development of more effective and targeted therapy for asthma.