Scientists are very excited about a new discovery which could lead to the development of the universal cure for asthma. This could save the lives of thousands of people who suffer from this disease and be beneficial for the everyday health of millions others. Within the following two years clinical trials are schedule in order to examine what is considered to be the root cause of asthma. The findings of the study were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Researchers at Kings College London and Cardiff University managed to find out which cells make the airways narrow when they are exposed to irritants such as pollution. Drugs which can deactivate these cells already exist. They are used in the treatment of osteoporosis and are called calcilytics. The researchers hope that asthmatics could take this drug in the future. It can prevent an attack from taking place and people will no longer need to carry an inhaler with them.
According to the study what makes the airways narrow is a calcium-sensing receptor. When the receptor is treated with calcilytics the asthma symptoms seem to be stopped and even reversed. Professor Daniela Riccardi of Cardiff University School of Biosciences said that all that remains to be done is to show that it is safe to administer calcilytics directly to the lungs. If they do this scientists will make the new treatment available in five years. Patients will be treated and asthma could be stopped forever.
The treatment was tested only on mice and samples of human tissues. However the results were so promising that human trials will most likely follow shortly. The experiments conducted so far showed that the cells of the calcium-sensing receptor catch the changes that take place in the environment. This triggers narrowing, inflammation and twitching. When calcilytic drugs are inhaled the cells are deactivated and the symptoms are stopped.
Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK and also supporter of the study, Dr. Samantha Walker, said:
“This hugely exciting discovery enables us, for the first time, to tackle the underlying causes of asthma symptoms.”
She also added that the research needs urgent funding in order to make it through the clinical trials.
If the clinical trials prove to be successful this discovery could help developing treatments for other diseases which have no cure, such as chronic bronchitis and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Image Source: The Sleuth Journal