Health
Simple blood test diagnoses Parkinson's disease long before symptoms appear — A new research report appearing in the December issue of the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) shows how scientists from the United Kingdom have developed a simple blood test to…
Early sign of Alzheimer's reversed in lab — One of the earliest known impairments caused by Alzheimer's disease - loss of sense of smell - can be restored by removing a plaque-forming protein in a mouse model of the disease,…
Parental controls on embryonic development? — When a sperm fertilises an egg, each contributes a set of chromosomes to the resulting embryo, which at these very early stages is called a zygote. Early on, zygotic genes are inert,…
Newly discovered heart stem cells make muscle and bone — Researchers have identified a new and relatively abundant pool of stem cells in the heart. The findings in the December issue of Cell Stem Cell, a Cell Press publication, show that…
BUSM researchers develop blood test to detect membranous nephropathy — Research conducted by a pair of physicians at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Centre (BMC) has led to the development of a test that can help diagnose…
New hip implants no better than traditional implants — New hip implants appear to have no advantage over traditional implants, suggests a review of the evidence published on bmj.com today…
Action needed to improve men's health in Europe — Policies aimed specifically at men are urgently needed to improve the health of Europe's men, say experts on bmj.com today…
Probiotics reduce infections for patients in intensive care — Traumatic brain injury is associated with a profound suppression of the patient's ability to fight infection. At the same time the patient also often suffers hyper-inflammation, due…
High blood sugar levels in older women linked to colorectal cancer — Elevated blood sugar levels are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, according to a study led by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.…
Engineered botulism toxins could have broader role in medicine — The most poisonous substance on Earth - already used medically in small doses to treat certain nerve disorders and facial wrinkles - could be re-engineered for an expanded role in helping…
Where am I? > Home > News > Health

Discovery could lead to new therapies for asthma, COPD

Science Centric | 27 January 2011 18:20 GMT
Printable version A clip for your blog or website E-mail the story to a friend
Bookmark or share the story on your social network Vote for this article Decrease text size Increase text size
DON'T MISS —
Researchers discover metabolite linked to aggressive prostate cancer
Researchers discover metabolite linked to aggressive prostate cancer — Researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre have identified a panel of small molecules, or metabolites,…
Scientists discover how deadly fungus protects itself
Scientists discover how deadly fungus protects itself — Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered how a deadly microbe evades the…
More Health

Researchers have proved that a single 'master switch' enzyme, known as aldose reductase, is key in producing excess mucous that clogs the airways of people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The enzyme's action can be blocked by drugs whose safety has been shown in clinical trials for other diseases - a discovery that could improve therapies for the 510 million people worldwide suffering from asthma and COPD.

The findings are from a University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston study published in the online journal PLoS One.

Using cell culture and laboratory mouse experiments, the researchers showed that the enzyme, aldose reductase, is essential to a process known as goblet cell metaplasia that is seen in both asthma and COPD. In goblet cell metaplasia, exposure to allergens such as pollen, mould and dust mites initiates a series of biochemical reactions that causes the cells that line the air passages of the lungs to change from their normal state into so-called 'goblet cells,' which produce substantial amounts of excess mucus. Healthy individuals' lungs contain very few goblet cells, but patients who die from asthma - an estimated 5,000 people annually - have significantly higher numbers of these cells.

'Aldose reductase is key to a whole range of inflammation disorders, so it comes as no surprise that it should be crucial to the inflammatory processes that drive disease in asthma and COPD,' said UTMB Health biochemistry and molecular biology professor Satish Srivastava, senior author of the paper. 'The discovery that aldose reductase regulates mucus production and goblet cell metaplasia makes inhibition of this enzyme an attractive therapeutic option to reduce mucus-related airway obstructive diseases - and for the first time gives us a real chance to alter the course of the underlying disease in asthma and COPD.'

According to Srivastava, aldose reductase inhibitors have a number of potential advantages over current therapies for asthma and COPD.

'Existing therapies for airway obstructive diseases provide relief by preventing allergic airway inflammation, but none of these drugs specifically address the problem of excessive mucus production; further, there is no convincing evidence that current therapies significantly reduce mortality associated with chronic asthma and COPD,' Srivastava said. 'Also, aldose reductase inhibitors can be given orally, unlike current inhaler-based treatments, so medication compliance could be better. And finally they can provide an alternative to steroid treatment for patients who either can't take steroids or find that steroids have no effect on their disease.'

The next step, Srivastava said, is clinical trials of the drugs as a therapy for asthma and COPD - a process that should be expedited since aldose reductase inhibitors have already undergone Phase III clinical trials for diabetic neuropathy. The UTMB Health Centre for Technology Development views Srivastava's research as so promising that it has applied for patents to cover their use as potential treatments for asthma, COPD and other inflammation-related disorders.

'Working closely with Professor Srivastava and other UTMB faculty, the next step is to prove the safety and efficacy of aldose reductase inhibitors for these conditions and develop them to improve the health of millions of people,' said Jason Abair, associate vice president of the centre. 'We are looking forward to identifying appropriate partners in industry to help us reach this goal.'

Source: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston


Leave a comment
The details you provide on this page [e-mail address] will not be used to send unsolicited e-mail, and will not be supplied to a third party! Please note that we can not promise to give everyone a response. Comments are fully moderated. Once approved they will be posted within 24 hours.
Expand the form to leave a comment

RSS FEEDS, NEWSLETTER
Find the topic you want. Science Centric offers several RSS feeds for the News section.

Or subscribe for our Newsletter, a free e-mail publication. It is published practically every day.

Exercise critical to recovery after knee replacementExercise critical to recovery after knee replacement

— It may be uncomfortable at first, but doing exercises to strengthen your quadriceps after you've had knee replacement surgery due to osteoarthritis is critical to…

New pathway is a common thread in age-related neurodegenerative diseasesNew pathway is a common thread in age-related neurodegenerative diseases

— How are neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's initiated, and why is age the major risk factor? A recent study of a protein called MOCA (Modifier of Cell…

Discovery could lead to a new animal model for hepatitis CDiscovery could lead to a new animal model for hepatitis C

— During its career, the potentially fatal hepatitis C virus has banked its success on a rather unusual strategy: its limitations. Its inability to infect animals…

Roadkill study could speed detection of kidney cancerRoadkill study could speed detection of kidney cancer

— Large-scale data mining of gene networks in fruit flies has led researchers to a sensitive and specific diagnostic biomarker for human renal cell carcinoma, the…

Popular tags in Health: cancer · diabetes · malaria · obesity