Well, good news for Asthma patients, because scientists have claimed to found the root cause of asthma, a breakthrough which could pave the way for a new treatment within 5 years. As you know, millions of asthma sufferers are able to regulate their symptoms with inhalers, but a minority about 5% of patients does not respond to any treatment. At the moment scientists have found a protein within the airways which they have faith in triggers all asthma attacks. Unusually, a drug already exists which they think could deactivate the protein, raising hopefulness for a treatment which may be effective for any asthma patient.
The team, which is led by Cardiff University, has already revealed that the drug works in mice and in human tissue samples in the laboratory. They’ve now designed the first clinical trials, which could start in coming two years. Professor Daniela Riccardi said (Lead Investigator): “Our findings are extremely electrifying.” Though, the discovery came quite by chance when Professor Riccardi, “formerly a bones specialist”, switched from the study of osteoporosis to the study of the lungs 5 years ago. She realized that a protein that triggers the progress of calcium within bones also plays a role in the airways. Moreover, tests revealed that asthmatics had far higher levels of the protein and it is called calcium sensing receptor or CaSR than healthy people. Therefore, when an asthmatic breathes in triggers due to dust, smoke, or pollen, the CaSR molecules cause the speedy increase of calcium within the cells of the lung tissue.
The additional calcium makes the cells contract, making the airways spasm, triggering an asthma attack. Thus, for the first time we’ve found a link between airways inflammation, which can be caused by environmental triggers - such as allergens, cigarette smoke and car fumes – and airways twitchiness in allergic asthma. It makes the cells much more sensitive to the asthma triggers and which then make an attack much more likely. Because, the drug already exists that can disable the CaSR protein, meaning it could be obtainable to patients as soon as clinical trials are complete. The medication called a “calcilytic” was developed some where fifteen years ago to knock out the same protein in osteoporosis.
Though the drug was believed to be safe, and it was not effective for osteoporosis patients. However, initials tests in mice and human tissue showed encouraging results as an asthma treatment. Nevertheless, the team, which included scientists from King’s College London and the Mayo Clinic in the United States, believe to use the drug in a nebuliser, in which it is turned into a mist and breathed straight into the lungs. A few courses of treatment would be adequate to stop asthma attacks from recurring, they believed. The doubtful it might also have a role in tackling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease “COPD” and chronic bronchitis, for which there is presently no effective treatment.
Furthermore, Prof Riccardi said: ‘If we can prove that “calcilytics” are safe when administered directly to the lung in people, then in 5 years we could be in a very good position to treat patients and potentially stop asthma from happening in the first place. Dr Samantha Walker, director of research at Asthma United Kingdom, who supported in fund the research, added: This is without an enormously exciting discovery, which will enables us, for the first time, to tackle the underlying causes of asthma symptoms. Only 5% people with asthma don’t respond to existing treatments so research breakthroughs could be life changing for hundreds of thousands of people.
Moreover, if this research proves effective we may be just a few years away from a new treatment for asthma, and we instantly need further investment to take it further through clinical trials. Asthma research is chronically underfunded; there’ve only been a handful of new treatments progressed in the last 50 years so the significance of investment in research like this is absolutely indispensable.’ Source: Dailymail