Dr. Russell Bowler is initiating a research study at National Jewish Health to investigate the effectiveness of the drug Xolair®(Omalizumab) in the treatment of COPD. Xolair® is currently used for the management of severe allergic asthma. People suffering from allergic asthma have respiratory attacks that are brought on, or worsened, by certain allergens in the air. Asthma and COPD have been shown to share similarities, and, not surprisingly, there are people with COPD who also have flare-ups brought on, or made worse by allergies.
Participants in Dr. Bowler’s study will receive Xolair®, or placebo, 1–2 times per month for one year, and will record their symptoms.
In people with allergies, IgE, a molecule of the body’s immune system, overreacts and causes allergic reactions to ordinary particles in the air such as pollen or pet dander. Xolair® works by blocking IgE from starting the chain reaction that leads to allergic attacks. So far, it’s been found to be effective against allergic asthma that is not well controlled by other means.
Dr. Bowler and his team hope to find this same success for people with both COPD and allergies that are poorly controlled with their current treatment.