A biological agent could be used to treat allergen-related asthma.

AMG 157 is "anti-thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) humanized monoclonal antibody" that has proven to have the ability to reduce asthmatic responses, MedPage Today reported.

"The magnitude of the effect of this new kid on the asthma treatment block was sizable -- similar to what may be achieved in the same clinical-research model by blocking established asthma mediators such as the cysteinyl leukotrienes," Sven-Erik Dahlén, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, wrote in an editorial accompanying the paper, MedPage Today reported.

Researchers are not sure why the drugs helps reduce asthmatic responses.

"It is an open question as to whether this strategy will be successful in the treatment of patients with asthma," he concluded. "We will first have to unravel the biologic mechanisms involved in this unexpected effect of AMG 157 and show why TSLP signaling allows airways to narrow too easily, too much, and too often," Dahlén said.

Patients affected by allergic asthma are usually treated with corticosteroids or bronchodilators that help control their reactions, a McMaster University news release reported. Antibodies are usually only given to patients who have very severe cases of asthma.

"It was known that the epithelial cells which line the airways in the lungs produce a protein called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) that causes inflammation. This study, for the first time, proved that these cells continually produce this protein in humans with asthma," Dr. Paul O'Byrne, executive director of the Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health (FIRH) at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and chair, Department of Medicine at McMaster University said in the news release. "While we studied patients with allergic asthma, this research opens the door for the development of new treatments not only for this population, but for those diagnosed with severe asthma as well."