" /> Potential treatment for severe steroid resistant asthma — Edinburgh Innovations

Potential treatment for allergic disease including severe steroid resistant asthma

A novel approach shows promising results as a potential therapeutic for allergic conditions, including severe steroid resistant asthma. A peptide has been identified, HpARI, that inactivates and inhibits release of IL-33 a critical step in the development of allergic disease.

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  • Therapy for severe, steroid-resistant asthma therapy and other IL-33 mediated allergic disease


  • Proof-of-concept


  • UK priority filing


  • Collaborative research


Severe steroid resistant asthma is an allergic disease that affects around 5% of asthmatics, but requires 50% of the total NHS spend to treat. There are no treatments and it is considered as a major unmet need.

IL-33 cytokine release has been shown to be a critical step in a range of allergic diseases, and high IL-33 levels in the lung have been associated with severe asthmatic pathology. IL-33 has been proposed as a potential target for steroid-resistant asthma. Candidates that directly block released IL-33 are in development, but none of these prevent the release of IL-33 from necrotic cells or selectively bind only the active form of IL-33, which is required for therapeutic effect.


Our technology, HpARI, centres around a peptide derived from the secretions of a helminth parasite, and which we have shown blocks the release of IL-33 from cells, and binds to active IL-33 only. This dual strategy is a potentially more efficacious and efficient approach to treatment than current candidates.

HpARI suppresses allergic immune responses, lung pathology, and improves lung function through interference in the IL-33 pathway in in vivo and in vitro models. We have characterised the domains and binding sites necessary for activity, and the design of drugable peptides is currently underway.


  • A previously unknown mechanism to modulate IL-33
  • More efficient approach than binding active and inactive form of IL-33; lower concentration required for effect
  • Dual strategy differs from other anti-IL33 candidates
  • Current tools are ineffective in detection and blockade of active IL-33


  • Osbourn et al., (2017). Immunity. 47 (4): 739-751.

Please note, the header image is purely illustrative.

Source: Unsplash

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