As a health condition that affects so many, young and old, this latest news on asthma is sure to give hope to people all over the world.
Scientists have claimed this week that they have discovered the root cause of the respiratory condition, and that a life-changing new treatment could be marketed within the next five years.
The researchers at Cardiff University claim that the development of asthma is all down to a particular protein called a calcium sensing receptor, or CaSR.
Lead investigator in the study Professor Daniela Riccardi says she made the discovery by chance. Through her experiments, she realised that the levels of CaSR protein (which also triggers the growth of calcium within bones) were far higher in asthmatics than they were in non-sufferers.
She found that, when an asthmatic breathes in asthma triggers such as dust or pollen, the CaSR molecules cause the rapid increase of calcium in lung tissue cells. This extra calcium causes the lung tissue cells to contract, which sends the airways into spasm, triggering what we refer to as an asthma attack.
Commenting on the findings, Professor Riccardi said: “For the first time we have found a link between airways inflammation, which can be caused by environmental triggers – such as allergens, cigarette smoke and car fumes – and airways’ twitchiness in allergic asthma. It makes the cells much more sensitive to the asthma triggers – which then make an attack much more likely.”
Given that a drug to disable the CaSR protein already exists, Professor Riccardi and her team say that a new breakthrough asthma medication could be available very soon.
We will keep you updated on the progress of the new research.