Breakthrough in understanding severe asthma has potential for new treatment

Jun 16, 2009

Scientists from King's College London and Imperial College London believe they have discovered a key element in the development of chronic asthma. Their research has been published in a new paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to explain why the structure and function of asthmatic airways are changed or ''remodelled'' and how this contributes to chronic asthma.

Remodelling occurs when the small airways in the lungs of people change gradually with time as their lungs respond to the presence of particles such as dust, pollen and mould in the air they breathe. These changes can also be compounded by viruses and bacteria.

Airway remodelling is apparent even in the lungs of young children with asthma, and can make the condition almost impossible to control. An important aspect of airway remodelling is changes to the which line our airways. In people with asthma, these cells tend to multiply and become larger, increasing their ability to squeeze the airways and cause breathing difficulties. There is no known way of reversing airway remodelling once it has occurred.

Dr Elaine Vickers, Research Relations Manager at Asthma UK says: 'This research into the causes of asthma provides us with vital clues as to how such symptoms could be stopped and it has uncovered important information, which we hope will lead to the creation of effective new treatments for the millions of people in the UK affected by .'

Professor Tak Lee, Head of the Division of Asthma and Allergy Research at King's, who led the research, comments: 'It is widely believed that this remodelling in is in large part responsible for the chronicity of the disease. There are many features responsible for remodelling but a key component of this process involves an increased amount of smooth muscle in the airways.'

Source: King's College London (news : web)

Explore further: Ebola expert calls for European anti-virus 'corps'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Severe asthma may be a different form of the disease

Jan 29, 2008

A multi-center research project to investigate severe asthma has found a key physiological difference between severe and non-severe forms of the disease, a finding that could help explain why those with severe asthma do not ...

Antibiotic treatment targets difficult asthma

Dec 17, 2007

Hunter researchers have shown that a commonly available antibiotic can improve the quality of life of patients with difficult asthma, and may also generate significant health care savings.

Asthmatic cats may be allergic to people

Oct 27, 2005

Cats have long been blamed for causing human health problems, but now Scottish veterinarians say they've found humans can cause asthma attacks in cats.

Asthma and smoker's lung: dry airways play a key role

Apr 07, 2008

Dry airways may not only play a central role in the development of the inherited lung disease cystic fibrosis, but also in much more common acquired chronic lung diseases such as asthma and smoker’s lung, the cigarette ...

More pounds equals worse asthma?

May 22, 2007

A new study presented at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference finds that obese people are significantly more likely to have persistent or severe persistent asthma than their thinner counterparts.

Recommended for you

Four die of bird flu in Libya: minister

5 hours ago

Four people have died of bird flu in Libya in recent days, the health minister of the country's internationally recognised government said on Saturday.

Ebola expert calls for European anti-virus 'corps'

Dec 26, 2014

Europe will be "vulnerable" if it does not regard viruses as a "national security issue" like the United States, the microbiologist who discovered Ebola said in an interview published Friday.

In Liberia, Ebola steals Christmas

Dec 26, 2014

The Ebola epidemic has cast a dark shadow over Christmas this year in Liberia, where small businesses are especially feeling the pinch.

Firm recalls caramel apples amid listeria fears

Dec 25, 2014

A Missouri firm is recalling its Happy Apple brand caramel apples because of the potential that they could be contaminated with listeria. The recall comes after at least three deaths and at least 29 illnesses in 10 states ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.