Breakthrough study drug could reverse asthma conditions
A breakthrough study led by Cardiff University in the UK has uncovered a potential root cause of asthma and a drug that reversed symptoms in lab tests.
The study revealed for the first time that the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) plays a key role in causing the disease.
Published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers described how they used human airway tissue from asthmatic and non-asthmatic people and lab mice with asthma to reach their findings.
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They also noted how manipulating CaSR with an existing class of drugs reversed all symptoms of asthma.
One of the crucial study results is that the symptoms the drug reversed include airway narrowing, airway twitchiness and inflammation - all of which make breathing more difficult, reported Medical News Today.
Daniela Riccardi, principal investigator and a professor in Cardiff's School of Biosciences, describes their findings as “incredibly exciting,” because for the first time they have linked airway inflammation—which can be triggered for example by cigarette smoke and car fumes—with airway twitchiness.
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She added, “Our paper shows how these triggers release chemicals that activate CaSR in airway tissue and drive asthma symptoms like airway twitchiness, inflammation, and narrowing. Using calcilytics, nebulized directly into the lungs, we show that it is possible to deactivate CaSR and prevent all of these symptoms.”
While the finding is likely to be welcomed by all asthma sufferers, it will particularly excite the 1 in 12 patients who do not respond to current treatments and who account for around 90 percent of health care costs associated with the disease.
Once funding is secured, the team hopes to be testing the drugs on humans within the next two years.