Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 303–313

Unmet Needs in Respiratory Diseases

“You Can’t Know Where You Are Going Until You Know Where You Have Been”—Anonymous

DOI: 10.1007/s12016-013-8399-2

Cite this article as:
Chang, C. Clinic Rev Allerg Immunol (2013) 45: 303. doi:10.1007/s12016-013-8399-2


The care of patients with respiratory diseases has improved vastly in the past 50 years. In spite of that, there are still massive challenges that have not been resolved. Although the incidence of tuberculosis has decreased in the developed world, it is still a significant public health problem in the rest of the world. There are still over 2 million deaths annually from tuberculosis, with most of these occurring in the developing world. Even with the development of new pharmaceuticals to treat tuberculosis, there is no indication that the disease will be eradicated. Respiratory syncytial virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and pertussis are other respiratory infectious diseases with special problems of their own, from vaccine development to vaccine coverage. Asthma, one of the most common chronic diseases in children, still accounts for significant mortality and morbidity, as well as high health care costs worldwide. Even in developed countries such as the USA, there are over 4,000 deaths per year. Severe asthma presents a special problem, but the question is whether there can be one treatment pathway for all patients with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a heterogeneous disease with many phenotypes and endotypes. The gene for cystic fibrosis was discovered over 24 years ago. The promise of gene therapy as a cure for the disease has fizzled out, and while new antimicrobials and other pharmaceuticals promise improved longevity and better quality of life, the average life span of a patient with cystic fibrosis is still at about 35 years. What are the prospects for gene therapy in the twenty-first century? Autoimmune diseases of the lung pose a different set of challenges, including the development of biomarkers to diagnose and monitor the disease and biological modulators to treat the disease.


TuberculosisCystic fibrosisCystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance receptorRespiratory syncytial virusRhinovirusPertussisSevere acute respiratory syndromeWegener’s granulomatosusChurg–Strauss syndromeGranulomatosus with polyangiitisAnti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodyMycobacterium tuberculosisGene therapyVaccinesVaccinationBiological modulators

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Allergy and ImmunologyThomas Jefferson UniversityWilmingtonUSA