According to a story from GlobeNewswire, the medication dupilumab (marketed as Dupixent®) has demonstrated potential efficacy in a phase 3 clinical trial as a treatment for eosinophilic esophagitis, a rare disease. The trial investigated the treatment in patients age 12 years or older. The drug had already achieved the trial primary and secondary endpoints, and further data is revealing additional benefits of the treatment. At this juncture, there is no FDA-approved therapy for this rare disease.
About Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), is a condition in which the esophagus becomes inflamed due to an allergic reaction that involves the activity of eosinophils, a form of white blood cell. Generally, the allergic reaction is triggered by some type of food that the patient has eaten, but it is often difficult to determine which specific food item is the cause. Symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis include difficulty swallowing, nausea, painful swallowing, heartburn, rings in the esophagus, narrowing of the esophagus, blockage of the esophagus, and vomiting. Current treatments involve medication to suppress the immune response, eliminating known food allergens, and expanding the esophagus. Many people with the condition also have other autoimmune problems, such as celiac disease or asthma. To learn more about eosinophilic esophagitis, click here.
This trial included a total of 81 patients who were treated over a 24 week period. These patients received a weekly dose of Dupixent totaling 300 mg. The new release of data included the following:
- Patient saw significant improvement in their swallowing ability, with this effect first appearing at four weeks and steadily improving throughout the treatment period.
- 64 percent of patients saw a reduced count of esophageal eosinophils. Peak eosinophil count dropped by 71 percent.
- Signs of disease severity at the microscopic level were also reduced with this drug.
- The treatment was also able to normalize the gene expression in the esophageal tissue.
Dupixent is currently approved in over 60 nations as a treatment for asthma and atopic dermatitis that is considered moderate to severe. The drug was developed by the biotechnology company Regeneron. The medicine has also earned Breakthrough Therapy designation as a treatment for eosinophilic esophagitis, which was announced in September.
With these promising findings, it looks like this drug could eventually become the first FDA approved therapy for eosinophilic esophagitis.