Omalizumab and the immune system: an overview of preclinical and clinical data
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OBJECTIVE: This review discusses the role of immunoglobulin (Ig)E in allergic disease, inhibition of IgE with omalizumab, and the consequences of IgE inhibition (both clinically and in terms of the effect on the immune system). DATA SOURCES: Relevant publications obtained from a literature review. STUDY SELECTION: Relevant publications on IgE, allergic disease, and anti-IgE were critically evaluated. RESULTS: IgE plays a key role in allergic diseases such as allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis. Its role in healthy individuals is less well defined. Treatment of allergic asthma and rhinitis with omalizumab, a humanized monoclonal anti-IgE antibody, causes a marked reduction in circulating free IgE levels. This has been shown to reduce symptoms and decrease the need for other medication in patients with these allergic diseases. Anti-IgE treatment with omalizumab did not cause any of the complications that might, in theory, be expected to result from reduction in circulating free IgE, such as adverse effects upon the immune system or other body systems. CONCLUSIONS: The limited clinical data currently available suggest that this novel method of treatment for allergic asthma and rhinitis seems to be both effective and well tolerated in clinical use.
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