Research shows new way lungs respond in asthma attacks

Posted by egg3 at Apr 05, 2016 09:03 AM |
Researchers identify new process for preventing narrowing of airways that could lead to new treatments for disease

A team led by Professor Andrew Tobin (Department of Molecular and Cell Biology) and Dr Yassine Amrani (Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation) has discovered a new way in which the lungs operate during asthma that could lead to new treatments for the disease.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, the researchers at the Leicester Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Toxicology Unit have identified a new biochemical process that controls how air enters and leaves the lungs during normal lung function and during asthma.

The scientists – funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and working in collaboration with the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London – used state-of–the-art methods to dissect the biochemical pathways involved in the contraction of the airway muscle.

By disrupting these biochemical pathways in a mouse model of asthma the scientists discovered that they could prevent airway narrowing and maintain normal lung function.

Co-lead author of the study Professor Andrew Tobin from the MRC Toxicology Unit which is located at the University of Leicester, said: “This is a real breakthrough in our understanding of how the lung works in both normal conditions and during disease. The fundamental biochemical process that we have discovered will ultimately allow us to better design ways to develop new treatments for those suffering from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).”

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