In this Q&A, Amgen’s Dr. Primal Kaur talks about her experience living with severe asthma as a child and how it influenced her life and career as a physician scientist.
Dr. Primal Kaur, M.D., MBA, physician scientist and vice president of Global Development, Inflammation, has made it her life mission to support people living with chronic inflammatory diseases. As someone who grew up living with severe asthma, she knows what it can feel like to not know if you will be able to take your next breath. Her most recent accomplishment was supporting the development of TEZSPIRE™ (tezepelumab-ekko), a first-in-class medicine for people living with severe asthma that is not limited to a specific type of severe asthma. TEZSPIRE is an add-on maintenance treatment for adult and pediatric patients aged 12 years and older with severe asthma. TEZSPIRE is not indicated for the relief of acute bronchospasm or status asthmaticus.
We sat down with Dr. Kaur to hear about her experience living with severe asthma and how it impacted her work on TEZSPIRE and inflammation more generally.
How did living with severe asthma impact your childhood and your career as a physician scientist?
One of my biggest challenges growing up with severe asthma was not being able to play with other kids or take part in activities many other kids would do, like sports. There were days when I would have an asthma attack and have to spend the day in bed. I missed out on school days and other parts of my life because of my asthma. It made me feel like I didn’t fit in with other kids.
Because of my childhood experiences, I have always wanted to help others and become a doctor. As a physician scientist, knowing I can make an impact on people living with chronic, inflammatory diseases is very fulfilling for me.
Who had the greatest impact on your decision to pursue a career in science and medicine?
My grandmother inspired me to become a physician. She passed away from a chronic disease when I was a teenager, and I have very vivid memories of seeing her struggle. I wanted to pursue a career that could help people like her.
What does it mean to you to be able to work on potential treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases like severe asthma at Amgen?
I love what I do because I can make a difference. Inflammation affects people in so many different ways, and inflammatory diseases can have a huge impact on a patient’s day-to-day life. It’s incredibly rewarding, personally and professionally, to develop new treatments that may be able to help people live a life less defined by their disease.
TEZSPIRE was particularly exciting to me because it could potentially address an unmet need that existed for people living with severe asthma. Knowing that you can make a difference in people’s lives is inspiring. I find it very powerful and energizing and that’s what motivates me to continue working every day to support patients.
Is there a specific moment that stood out to you as you were studying TEZSPIRE?
I was excited when I saw the primary analysis data of the TEZSPIRE Phase 2b study in severe asthma. The data told us that TEZSPIRE could potentially help reduce asthma attacks for a broad population of people living with severe asthma.
What advice would you give to people who are interested in pursuing careers in science and medicine?
Careers in science and medicine require a lot of perseverance and patience, but it is incredibly fulfilling to make a difference. You can make history.
Learn more about Dr. Kaur’s journey from patient to scientist and hear from Erin, a woman living with severe asthma, about her experience in the video below:
TEZSPIRE is indicated for the add-on maintenance treatment of adult and pediatric patients aged 12 years and older with severe asthma.
TEZSPIRE is not indicated for the relief of acute bronchospasm or status asthmaticus.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Known hypersensitivity to tezepelumab-ekko or excipients.
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Hypersensitivity reactions (e.g.,rash and allergic conjunctivitis) can occur following administration of TEZSPIRE. These reactions can occur within hours of administration, but in some instances have a delayed onset (i.e.,days). In the event of a hypersensitivity reaction, initiate appropriate treatment as clinically indicated and then consider the benefits and risks for the individual patient to determine whether to continue or discontinue treatment with TEZSPIRE.
Acute Asthma Symptoms or Deteriorating Disease
TEZSPIRE should not be used to treat acute asthma symptoms, acute exacerbations, acute bronchospasm, or status asthmaticus.
Abrupt Reduction of Corticosteroid Dosage
Do not discontinue systemic or inhaled corticosteroids abruptly upon initiation of therapy with TEZSPIRE. Reductions in corticosteroid dose, if appropriate, should be gradual and performed under the direct supervision of a physician. Reduction in corticosteroid dose may be associated with systemic withdrawal symptoms and/or unmask conditions previously suppressed by systemic corticosteroid therapy.
Parasitic (Helminth) Infection
It is unknown if TEZSPIRE will influence a patient’s response against helminth infections. Treat patients with pre-existing helminth infections before initiating therapy with TEZSPIRE. If patients become infected while receiving TEZSPIRE and do not respond to anti-helminth treatment, discontinue TEZSPIRE until infection resolves.
Live Attenuated Vaccines
The concomitant use of TEZSPIRE and live attenuated vaccines has not been evaluated. The use of live attenuated vaccines should be avoided in patients receiving TEZSPIRE.
The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥3%) are pharyngitis, arthralgia, and back pain.
USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
There are no available data on TEZSPIRE use in pregnant women to evaluate for any drug-associated risk of major birth defects, miscarriage, or other adverse maternal or fetal outcomes. Placental transfer of monoclonal antibodies such as Tezepelumab-ekko is greater during the third trimester of pregnancy; therefore, potential effects on a fetus are likely to be greater during the third trimester of pregnancy.
Please see the Tezspire full Prescribing Information.
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