"Scientists at Cardiff University have identified the potential root cause of asthma for the first time, along with a new treatment.
Researchers have proved that a receptor, known as the calcium sensing receptor or CaSR, causes asthma. This has led them to discover that the condition could be treated using existing drugs called calcilytics.
The study was made using mouse models of asthma and human airway tissue from asthmatic and non-asthmatic people.
Asthma affects about 300 million people worldwide."
4/24/15, "Cure for asthma likely in 5 years as root cause found," Irish Examiner, Evelyn Ring
"A cure for asthma could be available in five years, according to scientists who believe they have found the root cause of the condition.
The Asthma Society of Ireland said the discovery could be life-changing for the almost 500,000 people suffering from the chronic inflammatory disease of the airways.
Scientists believe drugs developed for the treatment of osteoporosis may have a key role in controlling asthma and the first clinical trial could begin within the next two years.
They found that the drugs, known as calcilytics, can reverse all symptoms associated with the condition that affects 300m people globally.
Researchers at Cardiff University, King’s College London, and the Mayo Clinic in the US, found a calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) had a role in causing the disease.
The team used mouse models of asthma and human tissue to reach their findings, which have been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Principal investigator, Daniela Riccardi from Cardiff University School of Biosciences, described the findings as “incredibly exciting. If we can prove that calcilytics are safe when administered directly to the lung in people, then in five years we could be in a position to treat patients and potentially stop asthma from happening in the first place”.
The scientists showed that environmental triggers, such as allergens, cigarette smoke, and car fumes released CaSR in airway tissue causing asthma symptoms, like airway twitchiness, inflammation and narrowing.
“Using calcilytics, nebulised directly into the lungs, we show that it is possible to deactivate CaSR and prevent all of these symptoms,” said Prof Riccardi.
Calcilytics proved unsuccessful in treating osteoporosis but were clinically safe and well tolerated in people.
Chief executive of the Asthma Society of Ireland, Sharon Cosgrove, said Ireland had the fourth highest incidence of asthma per capita in the world and “if a clinical treatment emerges. it could be potentially life changing for the 470,000 asthma sufferers here”."