Scientists report asthma “breakthrough”
Scientists from Cardiff University in Wales say they’ve found a potential cause of asthma and, using a drug, were then able to reverse symptoms of the condition. ave uncovered that a specific calcium sensing receptor in the body is largely responsible for what causes asthma. They revealed in their findings, published in Science Translational Medicine, that a certain class of drugs may even reverse asthma symptoms altogether.
For their lab study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the team used asthmatic mice, as well as airway tissues from asthmatic and non-asthmatic humans. They determined that a calcium-sensing receptor in the body plays a key role in causing the condition, which results in a blocked airway. They then tested the effects of calcilytics, a class of drugs which works to directly block calcium-sensing receptors. Calcilytics are commonly used for the treatment of osteoporosis.
The scientists found that calcilytics reversed airway narrowing, spasms and inflammation-all common symptoms of asthma. Researchers say calcilytics can be most effective in preventing symptoms through a nebulizer treatment, which uses vapor to directly targets the lungs.
The researchers also noted that this is not only a ‘breakthrough’ for asthma treatment, but is the first time a study has linked airway inflammation, that can be caused by smoke or fumes, with asthmatic ‘twitchiness’ or spasm. The team plans to test the drugs on humans with asthma within the next two years. They hope that beyond asthma, calcilytics can be used to treat other respiratory diseases such as COPD and chronic bronchitis.