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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Asthma cure 'within five years,' researchers hope

Thu, 23 Apr 2015 
"Asthma cure could be in reach," The Independent reports. Researchers have discovered that protein molecules called calcium-sensing receptors play a pivotal role in asthma. Drugs known to block these proteins already exist.
In asthma, the immune system mistakes harmless substances, such as pollen, as a threat. White blood cells and inflammatory proteins then collect in the airways. The inflammation causes the airways to constrict, leading to the breathing difficulties associated with asthma. This study found these proteins stimulate calcium-sensing receptors, which leads to further inflammation of the airways.
The research used mouse models of asthma and human airway tissue taken from asthmatic and non-asthmatic people. The researchers found increased numbers of these calcium-sensing receptors compared with healthy lung tissue. They concluded that this is one of the reasons for the exaggerated inflammatory response that occurs in asthma.
The drug calcityrol, which is used to treat osteoporosis, is known to block the actions of the receptors. It reduced inflammation of the airways when used in mice. 
However, it is not clear that calcityrol could be a "cure" for asthma, as the initial inflammatory response by the immune system would still occur.
Though calcityrol pills are safe as a treatment for osteoporosis, it is not known whether the dose required to be effective in reducing the inflammation found in asthma would be safe. 
The researchers plan to develop a version of the drug that can be inhaled to maximise its effectiveness and minimise side effects. They expect human trials to commence in a couple of years.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from Cardiff University, the Open University, the Mayo Clinic, and the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine in the US, and the University of Manchester and King's College London in the UK. 
It was funded by Asthma UK, the Cardiff Partnership Fund, Marie Curie Initial Training Network, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and the US National Institutes of Health. 
Four of the authors report they are co-inventors of a patent for the use of calcium-sensing receptor antagonists for the treatment of inflammatory lung diseases.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine.
The media reported the story accurately, although headlines saying that an asthma "cure" is five years away are a little premature. No clinical studies in people have been conducted yet, and there is no guarantee they will work. However, the "five-year cure" claim came from the researchers themselves.  

What kind of research was this?

This was a set of laboratory experiments involving mice models of asthma and samples of human lung tissue. The researchers aimed to better understand the inflammation that causes narrowing of the airways in asthma.
The inflammation is an exaggerated response to various triggers, such as pollen, infections and pollutants, but sometimes no cause is identified. 
Recent research found that this inflammation results in the build-up of two proteins: eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP) and major basic protein. These proteins carry multiple positive electrical charges.
The researchers wanted to test the theory that the inflammation is driven by these proteins activating another type of protein molecule called calcium-sensing receptors (CaSR) on the surface of the smooth muscle cells that line the airways.  

What did the research involve?

The researchers conducted a variety of laboratory experiments, which involved looking at human lung tissue samples taken from people with asthma and comparing them with healthy lung tissue. They then performed several studies comparing mice with a type of asthma with healthy controls.
The researchers first compared the number of CaSRs in the lung tissue of people with asthma, compared with healthy lung tissue. They then measured how the CaSRs reacted to positively charged proteins and various chemicals involved in inflammatory response, such as histamine. 
They repeated the experiments using a type of drug called a calcilytic, which blocks CaSRs. Calcilytic drugs were developed as a treatment for osteoporosis, as they increase the level of parathyroid hormone by targeting CaSRs. This helps to increase the level of calcium in the blood. 

What were the basic results?

The experiments indicated there are more CaSRs in people with asthma, which are required for inflammation. Calcilytic drugs blocked the receptors.
There were three times the number of CaSRs in biopsies of smooth muscle taken from the airways of people with asthma, compared with those who do not have asthma. The same was true for biopsies of mice with a form of asthma, compared with healthy controls.
In the laboratory setting, positively charged proteins and chemicals such as histamine activated the CaSRs, causing an inflammatory response. These receptors could be blocked by the calcilytic drugs.
Mice without CaSRs in their smooth muscle cells did not have an inflammatory response to the positively charged proteins. Healthy control mice did have an inflammatory response. Calcilytic drugs were able to reduce the effect of these proteins and other inflammatory stimulants tested. 

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded that there are more CaSRs in the lungs of people with asthma, and this contributes to the inflammation that causes narrowing of the airways. 
They say that calcilytic drugs could reduce the number of CaSRs and reduce their responsiveness. This could both "prevent as well as relieve AHR [airways hyper-responsiveness]", which is found in asthma. 
The researchers do not yet know if their findings would be true for all types of asthma. 

Conclusion

This piece of research has found that CaSRs play a role in the inflammatory response seen in asthma. The early results of laboratory experiments indicate that drugs called calcilytics can dampen this inflammatory response in asthmatic human lung tissue and in mice with asthma. 
Though the media described this as a "cure" for asthma, the study has not proved this. It showed that there were more CaSRs in the human lung samples from people with asthma, and compared it with healthy lung tissue. 
The researchers also have not shown that calcilytics can block the receptors. What is not known is how long this effect would last and whether it would stop the lungs producing more of the excessive numbers of receptors. 
It remains unclear why people with asthma in this study had an increased number of receptors, and if this is true for everyone with asthma. 
The researchers predict that if calcilytics prove to be effective in clinical trials, it will take around five years for them to become available as a treatment for asthma. 
This is because, although this drug has been deemed a safe treatment for osteoporosis, the researchers intend to develop the drug so it can be used as an inhaler. This would deliver it straight to the lungs to maximise the effectiveness and minimise side effects. 
Drug development will involve further animal trials to work out what dose would be required to achieve clinically meaningful results, and will also test its safety. If these trials are successful, the research will progress to human trials.
This is an exciting piece of research that may provide a new treatment for asthma, but it is still early days, so there are no guarantees.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tips for Spring Allergy Relief


Recently, the Food and Drug Administration approved a pill that treats grass pollen allergies. But if you’re not interested in being a guinea pig for the FDA, here are 6 tips to keep those spring allergies at bay…
#1. Check the Pollen Count
Along with incredible use of alliteration, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (AAAAI) provides a helpful National Allergy Bureau (NAB) map that reports pollen and mold levels in your area. You can also sign up for personalized daily updates.
#2. Attack the Dust Bunnies
Vacuum and dust your place thoroughly, paying close attention to crevices where dust bunnies and cobwebs can hide. Then move on to your carpets, pillows, curtains, upholstered furniture, and under the bed. Oh, and don’t forget to wipe down the fan blades. Picking up an Unger duster to get between vents is another bright idea.
Don’t just do this routine once and call it quits for the season; do it on the regular. Remember that whenever you crack a window or keep the door open to let in fresh air you’re also inviting allergens to make themselves at home.
#3. Replace AC Vents
On high-pollen, windy days, keep your windows shut. But if you need to cool your place down, doing so with a grungy AC filter is a bad idea. Not only will it make your AC unit less efficient, it’ll also circulate tainted air throughout your home. When purchasing a new filter, pay attention to the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) or High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) rating. The type and rating you need depends on your unit. So you’re going to do have to do your homework to find the right fit. Basically that means you’ll have to ask Google for the answer.
#4. Work Out Indoors
Whether you’re running errands or from the cops, if you’re doing it outside on a windy day you’re probably exacerbating your allergy symptoms by huffing and puffing mold and pollen. Keep the windows and doors shut between 5 AM and 10 AM on blustery days. This can help shield you from allergy symptoms.
If you’re not staying in, you do have options to mitigate your suffering. “I prefer starting with the least damaging, safest substances, such as the Similasan remedies, which are homeopathic and basically have no negative side effects,” explains Bowden, referring to a Swiss brand of natural eye drops, ear drops, and other remedies. “However, if I were suffering a lot and nothing else was working, I’d try a nasal spray. [But] some OTC drugs have a number of side effects that aren’t fun, like sleepiness and the jitters.”
#5. Boost Your Immune System
“Building up your immune system won’t stave off allergies any more than reinforcing your home will stave off hurricanes, but reinforcing your home may make it more likely your home will survive a hurricane,” says Bowden. He recommends stocking up on immune-friendly foods and supplements like olive leaf complex, onions, apples, coconut oil, and honey.
“Honey (raw, organic) is soothing for the throat, which is one of the areas most affected by inflammation and irritation,” he adds. “Green tea has many healing compounds like catechins. However, how much these things help depends on the severity of the reaction and the sensitivity of the individual.”
Two other supplements Bowden recommends are quercetin and stinging nettle. Quercetin is “highly anti-inflammatory and particularly good for allergies,” he says. Stinging nettle may help combat the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
#6. Roll Up the Windows
We know…it’s finally warm outside. But, use the AC in your car instead of rolling the windows down. And while this doesn’t let you enjoy the balmy weather or subject the world to John Legend’s “All of Me” at an absurdly high volume, it does keep the pollen and mold on the outside of your car instead of inside your body.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Bronchodilators

  • Allergies can often affect asthma. If you get asthma attacks or bronchospasms, your kit should have an inhaler. Short-acting inhaler medications -- bronchodilators -- are available only by prescription, and should be part of your asthma management plan. For a mild attack, a couple puffs will quickly relax the muscles that have tightened around your airways. Inhaled steroids don’t immediately relieve symptoms, but they can be prescribed for long-term asthma control. These medications control inflammation in the airways.

Eyes

Whether you're out in the fresh spring air or cleaning your dusty basement, allergens run amok throughout the year. They trigger allergysymptoms like coughing, sneezing, stuffy and runny nose — and swollen eyesAllergies can cause the eyes to swell and become red, itchy, watery, and really uncomfortable.

Am I The Only One

I am setting up this blog for my daughter who suffers from asthma and many other allergies. I am hoping to get her to express herself by writing a journal to understand how she can get some relief. This blog is an attempt to express how much she suffer when the trees start to bud this time of the year. Surely she is not the only one that suffers this time of the year? Surely she is  not alone. I would love to hear from others and try to get some relief. basically from April to June, She has to stay in doors and not go outside. I am in search of help. When everyone else is welcoming spring, she dreads it.