Inflammatory protein potential key to treating severe asthma: Study

Canberra, Feb 26 (IANS): Australian researchers have made a breakthrough in treating severe cases of asthma.

In a study published on Monday, researchers found that beta common cytokines, a family of proinflammatory molecules, control inflammation and scarring of the airways in severe and steroid-resistant asthma cases, Xinhua news agency reported.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that the World Health Organization estimates affected 262 million people globally in 2019.

In Monday's study, which was led by a team from the University of South Australia (UniSA), researchers wrote that they believe a human therapeutic antibody called trabikihart could be the key to effectively blocking the inflammation and scarring.

Damon Tumes, the joint leader of the study and head of the Allergy and Cancer Immunology Laboratory at UniSA, said in a media release that current treatments are limited because they only target single molecules when several cells and pathways are responsible for asthma.

"Inflammation and tissue damage in severe asthma is caused by several types of immune cells that enter the lungs due to allergens, viruses and other microbes that interact with the airways," Tumes said, "in some people, the inflammation is resistant to steroids, the first treatment option for controlling severe asthma."

"Targeting multiple inflammatory cytokines with a single drug may be the key to treat and control complex and severe chronic airway disease," he said.

According to data published by the National Asthma Council Australia in November 2023, asthma caused 467 deaths in Australia in 2022, up from 355 deaths in 2021 and the highest number since 2017.

In South Australia (SA) alone, asthma deaths increased by 88 percent between 2021 and 2022.



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