Breakthrough in Asthma Treatment on the Horizon

Researchers at The University of Queensland are currently testing a new drug with the potential to reverse, or even halt, the development of asthma.

Researchers at The University of Queensland are currently testing a new drug with the potential to reverse, or even halt, the development of asthma.

Developed by Pfizer Inc., the researchers said the drug specifically targeted a protein called IL-33. According to Simon Phipps, PhD, “The tests are based on our recent research, which discovered IL-33 plays a significant role in the development of asthma.”

Prior research had shown IL-33 caused bronchial inflammation in asthma patients, but this study indicated for the first time this protein also weakens the ability of asthmatics to combat respiratory viral infections.

The team wanted to better understand why co-exposure to respiratory viruses and allergens was a key trigger of asthma development in early life.

According to the study, “Exposure to a respiratory virus, followed very closely by exposure to an allergen, induced the release of IL-33.” Interestingly, the extra protein was found to prevent recovery from the virus and also promote the development of more severe disease symptoms.

“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,” the authors concluded.