Targeted therapy for chronic respiratory disease: a new paradigm

Peter G Gibson, Matthew J Peters and Claire E Wainwright
Med J Aust 2017; 206 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00731
Published online: 20 February 2017


  • Targeted therapy has emerged as a highly effective treatment approach for chronic respiratory diseases. Many of these conditions have dismal outcomes; however, targeted therapy shows great results for the subgroup who respond. This represents a new way to approach these conditions and offers great promise as a future treatment direction.
  • In severe eosinophilic asthma, therapy that targets the interleukin-5 pathway with monoclonal antibodies leads to a 50% reduction in asthma exacerbations in previously refractory disease.
  • In cystic fibrosis, lung function improves with therapy that targets specific molecular abnormalities in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator to increase the probability that this chloride channel is open.
  • In lung cancer, specifically adenocarcinoma with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation and overexpression of EGFR tyrosine kinase, therapy that inhibits EGFR tyrosine kinase gives better outcomes than conventional chemotherapy.

  • Peter G Gibson1
  • Matthew J Peters2
  • Claire E Wainwright3,4

  • 1 John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, NSW
  • 2 Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Sydney, NSW
  • 3 Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, Brisbane, QLD
  • 4 Child Health Research Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD

Competing interests:

Peter Gibson has received honoraria for the delivery of independent medical education and grants from GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Novartis. Matthew Peters has received honoraria from several companies that manufacture asthma medications for membership of committees and the provision of independent medical education. Claire Wainwright has received consulting fees from Medscape and Vertex, lecture fees and travel support from Vertex and Novartis, grant support from Vertex, GlaxoSmithKline and Novo Nordisk, and fees on a per patient basis from Boehringer Ingelheim as principal investigator of a clinical study.


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