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Laboratory drug trials could lead to asthma treatment breakthrough

Date:
June 27, 2016
Source:
University of Queensland
Summary:
A new drug with the potential to reverse or slow the development of asthma is being tested by researchers.
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A new drug with the potential to reverse or slow the development of asthma is being tested by researchers at The University of Queensland.

Developed by international pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc., the drug is being trialled by UQ's School of Biomedical Sciences.

Research team leader Associate Professor Simon Phipps said the drug targeted a protein called IL-33.

"The tests are based on our recent research, which discovered IL-33 plays a significant role in the development of asthma," Associate Professor Phipps said.

"While IL-33 is well known for causing bronchial inflammation in asthmatics, our research demonstrated for the first time that it also weakens the ability of asthmatics to fend off respiratory viral infections, a common trigger of asthma attacks.

"We're hopeful the new drug will be able to reverse or slow down the development of asthma by blocking the IL-33 protein."

The mouse model research is published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the leading international journal for asthma and allergy research.

Lead authors of the study were research team members postdoctoral fellow Dr Jason Lynch and PhD student Miss Rhiannon Werder.

Dr Lynch said the research discovery stemmed from a preclinical model that he established to understand why co-exposure to respiratory viruses and allergens was a key driver of asthma development in early life.

"We found exposure to a respiratory virus, followed very closely by exposure to an allergen, induced the release of IL-33," Dr Lynch said.

"The excess IL-33 protein was found not only to hinder recovery from the virus but also to promote the development of more severe and persistent symptoms of the disease.

"However if mice were exposed to an allergen at a time before contracting the virus it made no difference to their recovery process."

Miss Werder is conducting laboratory tests of the new drug as part of her PhD research.

"Our aim is to eventually come up with better treatment therapies that will reverse or slow down the progression of asthma rather than just ease the symptoms," Miss Werder said.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Queensland. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jason P. Lynch, Rhiannon B. Werder, Jennifer Simpson, Zhixuan Loh, Vivian Zhang, Ashraful Haque, Kirsten Spann, Peter D. Sly, Stuart B. Mazzone, John W. Upham, Simon Phipps. Aeroallergen-induced IL-33 predisposes to respiratory virus–induced asthma by dampening antiviral immunity. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.02.039

Cite This Page:

University of Queensland. "Laboratory drug trials could lead to asthma treatment breakthrough." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627095019.htm>.
University of Queensland. (2016, June 27). Laboratory drug trials could lead to asthma treatment breakthrough. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627095019.htm
University of Queensland. "Laboratory drug trials could lead to asthma treatment breakthrough." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627095019.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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