Asthma Medications Target Difficult-to-Treat Patients

The experimental medication reslizumab appeared ineffective in early trials, but cut exacerbations in half when given to the right patients.

The story of reslizumab demonstrates a core goal of precision medicine — finding the right treatment for the right patient. When given to asthma patients who did not respond to corticosteroids, the mainstay asthma medication, reslizumab worked in some but not in others, making it look ineffective when all the results were combined. But when Professor of Medicine Michael Wechsler, MD, and his colleagues gave it only to corticosteroid-resistant asthma patients with high levels of a specific immune cell, it cut exacerbations in half. Reslizumab is one of several targeted medications for asthma that are nearing government approval. National Jewish Health has participated in all of the clinical trials.