Asthma is a chronic lung condition that causes inflammation of the airways, which results in wheezing, breathlessness, coughing, and a tight chest. Contact with allergens, certain irritants, or exposure to viral infections as an infant or in early childhood when the immune system isn't fully mature have been linked to the primary cause of developing asthma. Exposure to certain chemicals and dusts in the workplace may also play a significant role in adult-onset asthma other than the genetics.
A new study published in Respiratory Research, and conducted by researchers from Aston University and Imperial College London found a way to treat asthma in the long term and return airways to a near healthy state like that of a non-asthmatic.
When the muscles around the airways tighten, the airways swell, making it difficult for the person to breathe properly. Dr Jill Johnson, lead researcher of the study and senior lecturer from Aston University’s School of Biosciences, explained that asthma is currently treated either by Bronchodilators or Corticosterioids.
On the other hand, Dr. Johnson elaborated to Medical News Today on how chemical compound helped treat asthmatic lungs. He said, “One of the main challenges to address in chronic inflammatory diseases is delivering the drug to the correct location. One key aspect of our work is that LIT-927 was delivered by inhalation. By giving the compound via this route rather than systemically (orally or by injection), it was able to block CXCL12 at its source, i.e. the inflammatory cells that surround the airway wall.”
“Without CXCL12 to stimulate pericytes to move to the airways and into the airway smooth muscle bundles, we effectively prevented airway remodeling, which led to improved airway structure and function,” she added.
By blocking a protein involved in making the airways less flexible, the researchers to almost extend eliminated asthmatic symptoms in the mice within a time frame of two weeks.