Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease that gets progressively worse over time, making it harder and harder to breathe. It is caused primarily by cigarette smoking, which leads to persistent inflammation in the airways and the subsequent destruction of the lung tissue.
Given the central role of inflammation in COPD, it is surprising that patients derive little benefit from treatment with potent anti-inflammatory drugs known as corticosteroids.
Working with cells from individuals with COPD, a team of researchers led by Shyam Biswal and Rajesh Thimmulappa, at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, has identified a candidate therapeutic that could potentially be used to augment the anti-inflammatory effects of corticosteroids in individuals with COPD -- sulforaphane, a compound obtained from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbages.
The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
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