Research breathes new life into severe asthma treatment

Australian researchers have discovered a promising approach to create a treatment for severe asthma.

Scientists have found a family of proteins called beta common cytokines are responsible for the inflammation and scarring of airways in severe and steroid-resistant asthma.

Inflammation and tissue damage is usually caused by immune cells entering the lungs because of viruses or allergens that irritate airways.

Steroids are often the first point of call to treat the inflammation in severe asthma but some people are resistant to the treatment.

This research has found in models that if the pathway of the protein family is blocked it could inhibit the occurrence of severe asthma.

“There are therapies at the moment that block one or two members of the pathway but blocking all the members of the pathway is super effective,” joint study leader from the University of South Australia Damon Tumes told AAP.

Dr Tumes says a treatment using a drug to block all the pathways could be the way forward for severe asthma sufferers including those who are resistant to steroids.

He says these findings are significant.

“Currently, limited treatment options are available for severe asthma,” Dr Tumes said.

“This new approach may be able to control the disease in a lot of different patients and the most severe patients.”

Just under 2.8 million Australians had asthma in 2022.

Asthma deaths increased by 30 per cent in the same year but experts believe a number of these could have been prevented with having the right treatment on hand.

This research was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.


Savannah Meacham
(Australian Associated Press)


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