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New Treatment May Mean Relief for Asthmatics

The Food and Drug Administration plans to review a new class of drugs, promising relief for asthmatics within the next year. CBS Correspondent Jacqueline Adams has the details.


The new drug treatment is known as the anti-IGE. The therapy works by preventing allergens such as pollen or dust from sticking to antibodies called IGE. When allergens enter the bodies of asthmatics, they cling to IGE and trigger a wheeze or cry. The new treatment would strip away the IGE, leaving nothing for the allergens to stick to.


"It really is a revolutionary step in our ability to control asthma," says Dr. David Valacer, of the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center.


More than half of the people who received anti-IGE treatment were able to really reduce or eliminate their need for other forms of daily asthma treatments.


An estimated 17 million Americans suffer from asthma attacks brought on by allergies. Eileen Matos is one of them. She has an allergic reaction whenever she's in contact with perfume, smoke or dust, and takes several medications every day.


"I have problems breathing and it just gets worse and worse until I feel I can't inhale," says Matos. "With the new treatment, it would almost, in a way, insulate me from the allergies I would normally be worried about. It sounds like it would make my life easier."


The new therapy may sound too good to be true, but if the FDA approves anti-IGE, doctors say patients will receive a simple injection every 2 to 4 weeks, instead of pills and inhalers every morning and night.

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