Do We Really Need to Keep Redesigning β2-agonists for the Management of Asthma?
David Van Ly and Brian G.G. Oliver
Affiliation: School of Medical & Molecular Biosciences, University of Technology Sydney, Building 4, Level 6, City Campus, P.O Box: 123 Broadway NSW 2007 Australia.
There is an enormous drive to refine therapeutic designs and delivery systems, but in this review
we ask if this is always the right direction? We choose to play devil's advocate, and argue that refining drug
design is not always needed, and what is actually needed is a greater understanding of the biology of the disease.
Here we focus on asthma and the β2-agonist group of bronchodilators as an example of how a class of
therapeutic has been developed and continues to be developmentally refined. In this review, we define viralinduced
exacerbations as the greatest cause of lung attacks and the most crucial time β2-agonist therapy is needed. We explore
the reasons why β2-agonist therapy fails in patients with rhinovirus-induced exacerbations, and explain why further
“engineered” β2-agonist therapies are likely to continue to fail in this subset of asthmatic population. We justify our perspective
by returning to the biology that underlies the cause of disease and highlight the need for “more research” into alternative
therapies for this population of asthmatic patients.
Keywords: β2-agonists, desensitization, exacerbations, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, rhinovirus.
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