The Irish Independent featured a story this morning (Friday 22nd July) under the headline “Asthma cure on the horizon” following the publication of a research paper in the UK yesterday. Since the publication of this article in the Independent and subsequent media coverage The Asthma Society has received a number of queries from members seeking advice on this development.
The research, carried out at the University of Southampton, discovered that the gene ADAM33 plays a crucial role in causing the twitchiness and inflammation of airways that trigger an attack. The gene makes an enzyme that attaches to the muscles in the airways. But the enzyme can 'go rogue', travelling around the lung and sparking the unnecessary production of new muscles and blood vessels - known as airway remodelling - which makes breathing difficult when coupled with an allergen such as pollen or dust.
Responding to the publication of the research Professor Stephen Lane a member of The Asthma Society Scientific advisory group said “This is a very preliminary study in an animal model of asthma. ADAM 33 is certainly one of many interspersing genes and molecules that are being investigated in asthma. The next steps would be to reproduce these studies in patients with asthma and if present, therapies could then be aimed at blocking its effects.”
According to Professor Richard Costello who is also a member of the advisory group “This is a welcome development in the complicated journey on the road to finding a cure for asthma. However, we must only view it as a step as this study finding would need to be tested on humans before we could truly quantify its impact and there is no guarantee that it will progress to that stage. Nevertheless, I welcome any research into asthma and would stress to anyone with the condition that management is key for good asthma control”
Remember if you have any concerns about your asthma you can call our Asthma Advice line for free on 1800 44 54 64 and make an appointment to speak to a specialist asthma nurse.