September 1, 2012
New Treatment Could Prevent 80% Of Asthma Attacks
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
A company affiliated with the University of Southampton has reportedly developed a treatment that can help asthmatics battle the infections that cause 80% of their respiratory attacks.
The study, which will be presented before the European Respiratory Society's annual congress in Vienna on Sunday, is said to be the first to offer evidence that boosting the immune system of a person suffering from asthma can actually reduce the number of attacks resulting from colds and viral infections, the university said in an August 31 statement.
"We have demonstrated the potential of a treatment, simply breathed in by the patient, which significantly reduces worsening of asthma symptoms and the patient's need to use their asthma inhaler in response to common cold infection," study leader Ratko Djukanovic, a professor with the university and a respiratory specialist at Southampton General Hospital, said in a statement. "By presenting an immune system protein molecule, interferon beta, to the patient's lungs we can prime their body to challenge infections more effectively."
Djukanovic, who also serves as the head of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Southampton Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, said that the link between weakened immunity and virus-causes asthmatic attacks was first discovered by researchers at the university. He noted that other researchers were working to verify and adapt their findings for possible treatments.
"This is a really promising breakthrough for the future treatment of asthma and one of the most exciting developments that I have seen in years," the University of Southampton professor and asthma specialist, as well as founder of Synairgen (the company behind that developed the treatment), said.
"These impressive findings across different endpoints, together with the accumulating body of evidence we have generated for other respiratory viruses such as influenza (Swine and Bird flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), strongly suggest that inhaled interferon beta has the potential to be used as a powerful broad spectrum antiviral respiratory drug in lung diseases such as COPD and pandemic flu," he added.