New interventions in asthma including bronchial thermoplasty
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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This article focuses on two novel asthma therapies - antibiotics and a procedure, bronchial thermoplasty. The challenges of identifying which treatment would best help an individual patient can be addressed by use of noninvasive measurements to define their asthma. RECENT FINDINGS: Asthma is heterogeneous. Methods can be applied that define different phenotypes. We can now obtain a more detailed description of physiological changes, for example with bronchial provocation, and inflammatory changes, for example with exhaled nitric oxide or sputum cell analysis, in patients with airway symptoms. These measurements help define disease mechanisms and are especially informative when patients do not respond to standard therapy. Furthermore, detailed phenotyping may help identify who is most likely to benefit from newly developed, more specific therapies ranging from antagonists of individual mediators, for example anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha or anti-immunoglobulin E, to interventions that directly address structural determinants of asthma, for example bronchial thermoplasty. SUMMARY: Asthma treatment is evolving beyond the current cornerstones of bronchodilation, leukotriene antagonism and corticosteroids. This change will be propelled by a more detailed description of individual patients' disease that will enable customization of treatment, and the development of specific interventions that modify disease mechanisms, including airway remodelling.
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