Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common herbal-based anti-malarial drug effective in controlling asthma, study suggests

Date:
August 1, 2014
Source:
National University of Singapore
Summary:
Asthmatic patients may soon have a more effective way to control the condition, thanks to a new pharmacological discovery.

Dr Eugene Ho (left) of the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and Associate Professor Fred Wong (right) of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine discovered that artesunate can be used as an anti-inflammatory drug to control asthma, with potentially lower side effects than other drugs currently available.
Credit: National University of Singapore

Asthmatic patients may soon have a more effective way to control the condition, thanks to a new pharmacological discovery by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Related Articles


The team, led by Associate Professor Fred Wong from the Department of Pharmacology at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, together with Dr Eugene Ho Wanxing, a recent PhD graduate from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at NUS, discovered that artesunate, a common herbal-based anti-malarial drug, can be used to control asthma, with better treatment outcomes than other drugs currently available.

In their latest work, the team revealed for the first time that artesunate is able to suppress airway inflammation and produce an array of anti-inflammatory effects similar to those by dexamethasone, the most potent steroid currently available, and with less side effects. This breakthrough discovery was first published in the journal Metabolomics on 16 July 2014.

Earlier this year, the NUS team was invited by journal Pharmacology and Therapeutics to pen a comprehensive review of the pharmacological effects of artesunate, and the review article was published in the journal in April 2014.

The quest for better asthma therapeutics

Asthma is an incurable lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, causing recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and shortness of breath. It is a chronic condition that affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood.

To address the global unmet demand for better therapeutics to control allergic asthma, Dr Ho explored the therapeutic values of artesunate, which is herbal-based, as an alternative drug candidate. This study was part of Dr Ho's final-year project when he was pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences at NUS. His initial findings demonstrated that artesunate possessed promising anti-inflammatory potential.

Dr Ho was recognised by the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA) in 2010 for his novel discovery, and he was awarded the SMA Graduate Fellowship for his PhD studies at NUS.

For his postgraduate studies, Dr Ho built upon his findings to better understand the therapeutic properties and molecular mechanisms of artesunate under the supervision of Assoc Prof Fred Wong.

The NUS team studied the therapeutic effects of artesunate against oxidative stress and oxidative lung damage which are major inflammatory events that contribute to the severity of asthma attacks. They found that artesunate could better prevent oxidative lung damage, a major molecular inflammatory event in asthmatic lungs, than clinically-used corticosteroid, dexamethasone.

Their collective results revealed that artesunate can be used to better control asthma, with improved outcomes and lesser adverse effects than currently available drugs. As long term usage of steroids may induce many potential side effects in asthmatic patients, the significance of this study suggests that the patients may eventually be able to adopt artesunate as a safer and more effective alternative to control their asthma.

The next step

Moving forward, the team led by Assoc Prof Wong will further explore the therapeutic and pharmacological effects of artesunate for asthma, as well as for other medical conditions. They also intend to work with industry partners to test the effects of artesunate on asthmatic patients.

Dr Ho is also furthering his research as a Research Fellow at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at NUS, where he is investigating the molecular mechanisms of artesunate, and hopes to discover more beneficial effects of artesunate and accelerate the adoption of this drug for clinical tests.


Story Source:

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


Journal References:

  1. Wanxing Eugene Ho, Yong-Jiang Xu, Fengguo Xu, Chang Cheng, Hong Yong Peh, Shao-Min Huang, Steven R. Tannenbaum, Choon Nam Ong, W. S. Fred Wong. Anti-malarial drug artesunate restores metabolic changes in experimental allergic asthma. Metabolomics, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s11306-014-0699-x
  2. Wanxing Eugene Ho, Hong Yong Peh, Tze Khee Chan, W.S. Fred Wong. Artemisinins: Pharmacological actions beyond anti-malarial. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2014; 142 (1): 126 DOI: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2013.12.001

Cite This Page:

National University of Singapore. "Common herbal-based anti-malarial drug effective in controlling asthma, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140801091122.htm>.
National University of Singapore. (2014, August 1). Common herbal-based anti-malarial drug effective in controlling asthma, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140801091122.htm
National University of Singapore. "Common herbal-based anti-malarial drug effective in controlling asthma, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140801091122.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
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.

Save/Print:
Share:

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



Save/Print:
Share:

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