A new treatment has been discovered that could prove more effective than the current medication used to treat millions of asthma sufferers around the globe.
The treatment was discovered by teams from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Shanghai University after sifting through some 6,000 different compounds.
Eventually they found a drug called (TSG12) that relaxes the muscles and opens the airways in those suffering from asthma.
The treatment, which is non-toxic to humans, prevents pulmonary resistance in those suffering from egg and dust mite induced asthma.
“It is not a cure,” clarifies lead author and immunologist Luis Ulloa “But I think this treatment will give people a lot of hope,”
“There are a growing number of patients with no alternative because the current treatments either have critical side effects or aren’t working. We hope this will give patients a better option.”
Asthma affects some 300 million people around the globe and 5.4 million people in the UK equating to one in every 12 adults or 11 children.
The study, which took four years, found that a metallothionein-2 (MT-2) protein found in asthmatic lung tissues helps relaxes the airways by smoothing muscle cells.
By carrying out a series of tests on mice they found that those with lower concentrations of MT-2 suffered more from asthmatic symptoms. Those without any were two times more likely to develop asthma.
Using this information the team were then able to develop a specific drug based around this protein.
“We found that the TSG12 used in the study is both non-toxic and more effective in reducing pulmonary resistance and could be a promising therapeutic approach for treating asthma without losing their effectiveness overtime,” explained Ulloa.
The testing is still in the very early stages and clinical trials are expected to be the next step.