Breathable treatment to help prevent asthma attacks

Details of a treatment that could help asthmatics fight infections that trigger 80% of asthma attacks, developed by University of Southampton spin-out company Synairgen, will be presented to European respiratory experts on Sunday 2 September.

The study provides the first evidence that boosting asthmatics' immune systems can help reduce the number of due to the common cold and other viral infections for the 5.4 million asthmatics in the UK.

Professor Ratko Djukanovic, a respiratory specialist at the University of Southampton and Southampton General Hospital, led the study and will present findings to the European Respiratory Society's annual congress in Vienna.

He says: "We have demonstrated the potential of a treatment, simply breathed in by the patient, which significantly reduces worsening of and the patient's need to use their inhaler in response to common cold infection. By presenting an molecule, interferon beta, to the patient's lungs we can prime their body to challenge infections more effectively."

Professor Djukanovic directs the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Southampton Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, one of 20 sites involved in the trial and a partnership between the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, funded by NIHR.

He continues: "Southampton researchers, working alongside , made the original discovery that weakened immunity amongst asthmatics was key to viral impacts; now are helping us to confirm that discovery and translate it into treatments for their, and other asthmatic patients', benefit through the work of the unit."

Professor Stephen Holgate CBE, leading international asthma specialist at the University of Southampton and founder of Synairgen, says: "This is a really promising breakthrough for the future treatment of asthma and one of the most exciting developments that I have seen in years. These impressive findings across different endpoints, together with the accumulating body of evidence we have generated for other respiratory viruses such as influenza (Swine and Bird flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), strongly suggest that inhaled has the potential to be used as a powerful broad spectrum antiviral respiratory drug in lung diseases such as COPD and pandemic flu."

Richard Marsden, Chief Executive of Synairgen, adds: "This is a great result for the development of our programme. To put this treatment's potential into context, it is estimated that in the US alone there are some 2 to 4 million difficult to treat (Step 4 and 5) adult asthma sufferers who could benefit from this therapy. We continue to analyse the wealth of data generated by this important trial and to plan the next phase of its development, ideally alongside an industry partner."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Positive results trial for new asthma treatment

Apr 19, 2012

Scientists from the University of Southampton and Synairgen, a respiratory drug development company spun out from the University, can announce positive data from its Phase II clinical trial, into the effectiveness of the ...

Recommended for you

Commensal bacteria help orchestrate immune response in lung

Sep 11, 2014

Studies in mice demonstrate that signals from the bacteria that harmlessly—and often beneficially—inhabit the human gastrointestinal tract boost the immune system's ability to kill a major respiratory pathogen, Klebsiella pn ...

How age alters our immune response to bereavement

Sep 09, 2014

Young people have a more robust immune response to the loss of a loved one, according to new research from the University of Birmingham, providing insight into how different generations cope with loss.

User comments