Breathable treatment to help prevent asthma attacks

August 31, 2012

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."

Explore further: Positive results trial for new asthma treatment

Related Stories

Positive results trial for new asthma treatment

April 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 ...

New research uses 3D imaging to improve the lives of lung disease patients

March 23, 2012
Pioneering research in Southampton, using hi-tech 3D imaging, could improve the lives of those suffering from chronic lung disease.

People hospitalized with asthma 'less likely to die from swine flu'

September 26, 2011
People with asthma who are admitted to hospital with pandemic influenza H1N1 (swine flu) are half as likely to die or require intensive care than those without asthma, according to new research.

Recommended for you

Team finds link between backup immune defense, mutation seen in Crohn's disease

July 27, 2017
Genes that regulate a cellular recycling system called autophagy are commonly mutated in Crohn's disease patients, though the link between biological housekeeping and inflammatory bowel disease remained a mystery. Now, researchers ...

Co-infection with two common gut pathogens worsens malnutrition in mice

July 27, 2017
Two gut pathogens commonly found in malnourished children combine to worsen malnutrition and impair growth in laboratory mice, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Study sheds light on how body may detect early signs of cancer

July 26, 2017
Fresh insights into how cells detect damage to their DNA - a hallmark of cancer - could help explain how the body keeps disease in check.

How genetically engineered viruses develop into effective vaccines

July 26, 2017
Lentiviral vectors are virus particles that can be used as a vaccine to stimulate the immune system to fight against specific pathogens. The vectors are derived from HIV, rendered non-pathogenic, and then engineered to carry ...

Accounting for human immune diversity increases clinical relevance of fundamental immunological research

July 26, 2017
Mouse models have advanced our understanding of immune function and disease in many ways but they have failed to account for the natural diversity in human immune responses. As a result, insights gained in the lab may be ...

Study suggests same gut bacteria can trigger different immune responses depending on environment

July 24, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A group of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. has found that one type of gut bacteria triggers different kinds of immune responses depending on the state of the environment they ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.