New approaches to the modulation of inflammatory processes in airway disease models: ATS 2001, May 18-23, San Francisco
The 97th American Thoracic Society meeting proved to be an excellent meeting, providing a wealth of new information on inflammatory diseases of the airways. Once again there appeared to be an increased emphasis on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with most of the major drug companies concentrating a large part of their efforts in this field. An assessment of the new British Thoracic Society guidelines, which are designed to promote better management of COPD, was also presented at
... meeting. Potential new treatments for inflammatory diseases of the airways including COPD were described, ranging from phase III trial data with GlaxoSmithKline's PDE4 inhibitor, Cilomilast (Ariflo®) to the development of AstraZeneca's novel dual dopamine D2-receptor/β2-adrenoreceptor agonist, Viozan™. Of particular interest was Byk Gulden's Ciclesonide, a new corticosteroid with equivalent efficacy to the market leaders but with an improved safety profile. The same company also presented data on their PDE4 inhibitor, Roflumilast, which is now in phase II/III. Bayer presented data on their PDE4 inhibitor, BAY 19-8004, in a smoking animal model and claimed greater anti-inflammatory efficacy than with a steroid. Asta Medica (now known as Elbion) also described a new potent PDE4 inhibitor, AWD 12-281, with anti-inflammatory activity. In the bronchodilator field, an analysis of data from a one-year trial with Boehringer Ingelheim's Tiotropium revealed a possible improvement in lung function in COPD patients; this needs to be confirmed in a specifically designed study. Inhibitors of p38 (c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase and syk kinase) were also discussed as anti-inflammatory agents with potential in the treatment of COPD and asthma. GlaxoSmithKline's p38 kinase inhibitor, SB 239063, appeared to be the most advanced of these with clinical data expected in two to three years. Lyn kinase was also discussed as a novel target for inflammatory airway diseases.