Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery could help stem smoking-related diseases

January 16, 2012
University of Melbourne
Sufferers of smoking-related lung diseases could have their debilitating symptoms reduced following the discovery of a potential new treatment.

Sufferers of smoking related lung diseases could have their debilitating symptoms reduced following the discovery of a potential new treatment.

Related Articles

The discovery, by researchers at the University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia, and the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, US, could dramatically improve treatments and slow the progression of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) which includes the incurable condition emphysema.

COPD is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe and is mostly caused by excessive smoking. Approximately 2.1 million Australians have some form of COPD. By 2050, this figure is expected to more than double to 4.5 million.

The international team identified that the protein SAA plays a key role in chronic inflammation and lung damage in COPD and also inhibits the natural effort of the lung to repair itself after smoking has stopped.

The findings have been published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Science.

Professor Gary Anderson from the University of Melbourne said the discovery could become a dual treatment to improve lung function at any stage of COPD.

"It has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of many people suffering these conditions and reduce the huge burden of health and hospital costs associated with their treatment," he said.

Lead author Associate Professor Steven Bozinovski from the University of Melbourne said the findings were significant because SAA was normally made in the liver, but they found that very high levels were made in the lungs of COPD patients. "It was a breakthrough for us to confirm that SAA played such a key role in the lung," he said.

The team confirmed that SAA not only caused inflammation but hindered natural healing in the lung.

Harvard's Associate Professor Bruce Levy said, they found that as the SAA interacted with its receptor it not only triggered lung inflammation, it also stopped a natural healing molecule which helped to turn off inflammation and heal the lung.

"This mechanism appears to explain one of the reasons that inflammation in COPD just never resolves despite stopping smoking," he said.

The discovery could lead to the development of a dual treatment by firstly, targeting SAA to switch off its function in the lung and secondly, adding a synthetic form of the natural healing agent to boost lung healing. Clinical development for the synthetic agent is currently under way in the US.

The proposed combined treatment could also improve the effectiveness of steroid treatment for COPD, which is effective in treating other lung diseases such as asthma.

"Steroid treatments work in conditions like asthma by turning off the production of inflammatory substances; however, our latest finding reveals that steroids actually fail to block the production of SAA and hence inflammation in the lung," Professor Anderson said.

"We believe SAA plays a critical role in why steroids are much less effective than they should be in treating COPD," he said.

It is hoped the new treatment will go to clinical trial within the next seven years.

"This is not a golden ticket to smoke," he said. "We are hopeful the combined treatment will assist patients of all stages of COPD, particularly those in stage four with constant hospital visits, to improve their quality of life, but it would not cure disease," he said.

He said the only way to prevent COPD is not to smoke. "If you are currently smoking the best thing to do is to quit as this will prevent the worsening of COPD," he said.

The research was funded in part by the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) and the National Institute of Health (US).

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Melbourne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. S. Bozinovski, M. Uddin, R. Vlahos, M. Thompson, J. L. McQualter, A.-S. Merritt, P. A. B. Wark, A. Hutchinson, L. B. Irving, B. D. Levy, G. P. Anderson. Serum amyloid A opposes lipoxin A4 to mediate glucocorticoid refractory lung inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1109382109

Cite This Page:

University of Melbourne. "Discovery could help stem smoking-related diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112100627.htm>.
University of Melbourne. (2012, January 16). Discovery could help stem smoking-related diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112100627.htm
University of Melbourne. "Discovery could help stem smoking-related diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112100627.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This

More From ScienceDaily

More Health & Medicine News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins