We read the review by Russo and Polosa [1] published in Clinical Science with great interest and concur that TNF-α (tumour necrosis factor-α) is a potential target for modulating asthma. Of interest, since the authors submitted their article for publication, two papers and an abstract have been published indicating that their suggestion is correct.

Marimastat is a metalloproteinase inhibitor which is known to inhibit TACE (TNF-α-converting enzyme), responsible for TNF-α cleavage from the 26 kDa membrane-bound molecule to the active 17 kDa form. We have studied the effect of marimastat in a placebo-controlled double-blind manner in mild asthma and were able to show that there was a significant right shift in the dose–response curve to inhaled allergen, indicating that marimastat is able to decrease airway reactivity [2]. Two separate studies [3,4] have been performed by using direct TNF...

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