Today it is clear that complement system is a key player of the innate immune system. However, this integral position in the maintenance and regulation of immune and inflammation reactions also makes it a trigger point for a variety of pathologic conditions. Erroneous activation or insufficient regulation of the complement cascade may turn its destructive actions against the host’s cells. As a consequence, many inflammatory and autoimmune diseases are thought to be caused, or at least supported, by unleashed complement. Inhibition or modulation of complement system has therefore been recognized as a promising therapeutic target for many years.
However, successful marketing of complement-targeted drugs has proved to be more difficult than initially expected, and many strategies have been discontinued. The US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the first complement-specific drug, an antibody against complement component C5 (eculizumab; Soliris), in March 2007, was a long-awaited breakthrough in the field. Approval of eculizumab validates the complement system as therapeutic target and might facilitate clinical development of other promising drug candidates.
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2. Hajishengallis G, et al. (2013). Complement-targeted therapeutics in periodontitis. In Complement Therapeutics (pp. 197-206). Springer US.