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Discovery of potential long-term treatments for asthma

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Possible solutions to one of the root causes Asthma was developed by researchers at Aston University and Imperial College London. In tests on mice, the researchers were able to virtually eliminate asthma symptoms and restore their airways to near-normal levels within two weeks.

In the UK, nearly 5.5 million people are treated for asthma and about 1,200 people die from the disease each year.

Asthma causes the airways to thicken and constrict, leading to symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath.

Current treatments, including steroids, can provide short-term relief of these symptoms by relaxing the airways or reducing inflammation. However, there is currently no drug that addresses the structural changes asthma makes to the airways and lungs to provide longer-lasting treatment.

Lead researcher Dr Jill Johnson, from Aston University’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “By targeting the airways directly, changes, and we hope that this approach will eventually provide a longer-lasting and more effective treatment than existing approaches, especially for severe asthma patients who do not respond to steroids. However, our work is still in the early stages and further research is needed to Start testing in humans.”

The study focused on a type of stem cell called a pericyte, which Mainly present in the lining of blood vessels. When asthmatics have allergic and inflammatory reactions, such as to house dust mites, this causes pericytes to move to the airway walls. Once there, pericytes develop into muscle cells and other cells that make the airways thicker and less flexible.

Pericytes are triggered by a protein called CXCL12. The researchers used a molecule called LIT-927 to block the protein’s signaling by introducing it into the nasal passages of mice. Asthmatic mice treated with LIT-927 had less symptoms within a week and almost disappeared within two weeks. The researchers also found that the airway walls of mice treated with LIT-927 were much thinner than those of untreated mice and closer to healthy controls.

The team is now applying for further funding to do more research on dose and timing that will help them Determine when and how much LIT-927 is likely to be most effective during disease progression and better understand its impact on lung function. If the research is successful, they believe, it will be several years before the treatment can be tested in humans.

The study was published in Respiratory Research

Further information: Rebecca Bignold et al., Chemokine CXCL12 drives weeks in allergic airway disease Cell accumulation and airway remodeling, Respiratory Research (2022). DOI: 10.1186/s12931-022-02108-4

Citation : Discovering a Potential Long-Term Treatment for Asthma (2022 , Aug. 9), retrieved Aug. 21, 2022, from

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