To find a cure for asthma would be great, but could it be as easy as a simple vaccine. Thus was the topic of a recent Sharepost of mine at MyAsthmaCentral.com:
Is Vaccine to Cure Asthma/ Allergies Too Good to be True
By Rick Frea, Monday July 19, 2010, @MyAsthmaCentral.com
Studies show most asthmatics aren't compliant with their asthma controller meds. So wisdom has it life would be much easier for us asthmatics if only there was a simple shot that would prevent or even cure this dreaded disease.
A couple years ago I wrote a post entitled: "Asthma: A cure on the horizon." Little did I know that even as that post was being written scientists were working on a "jab" that is supposedly a vaccine to eradicate allergies to improve the lives of allergy, asthma and eczema sufferers.
The development of the vaccine was followed by a study where 63 asthmatics were either given a dummy drug, or what scientists like to refer to as CYT003-Qbg10, or the allergy/asthma/eczema vaccine.
According to the Telegraph, "'One size fits all' allergy jab for hay fever, asthma and eczema on the way," by Andrew Hough, the vaccine is thought to be a cure for many allergies, as the study results showed , of the asthmatics given the drug, asthma attacks or symptoms were cut by a third. Another study showed allergy symptoms were reduced by 39 percent, and quality of life was boosted by 42 percent.
Pending the results of a larger study, this vaccine "could" be available to the general public within the next few years. This is big news for asthmatics, since it is estimated that up to 75 percent of the 34.1 million asthmatics in the U.S. and 300 million worldwide also suffer from allergies that often trigger asthma.
Researchers also "concluded that a course of the vaccine was almost as good as steroids at keeping asthma under control," the article notes.
Does this sound too good to be true? Perhaps it is. Yet we'll have to wait and see how a larger study group responds to this vaccine before we get our hopes up.
The vaccine is composed of "synthetic DNA similar to those found in the bug that causes tuberculosis or TB. The DNA fools the body into thinking it is under attack from a dangerous bug, kick-starting a multi-pronged immune response," according to the Telegraph article.
I have written before that to me, allergies seem to be the cause of most of my asthma symptoms. Even while my asthma is controlled with newer medicines like Advair and Symbicort, exposure to large amounts of allergens still triggers asthma.
In fact, I wrote a post (click here) about all the things we asthmatics have to do to prevent the allergy response that causes runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, that downright miserable feeling, and the ultimate feeling of shortness of breath. I wrote that no method of avoiding allergens is anything remotely close to fun.
The experts say you should wear goggles when you garden. How geeky. They say you should keep your windows closed on spring and summer mornings when pollen counts are high. Well, we asthmatics like to enjoy that warm summer breeze too. They say you should put plastic coverings over your bedding. Of course then you have to hear the crinkle every time you roll -- how annoying.
As asthmatics, we have to learn to avoid visiting relatives and friends because they have pets, and we can't go hunting because we're allergic trees and animal hide, and we definitely can't go to the cabin because of molds and dust mites and cockroaches. Hepa filters work nice, but they're too expensive and need to be replaced too often.
It would be so much easier to just take a one size fits all vaccine and be done with it all. It would be nice to be normal. That's why I am joining the 300 million asthma sufferers around the world hoping this medicine turns out to be as efficient and safe as they say it will be.
So while this vaccine may not necessarily be a cure-all for asthma, it's definitely a gallant step in the direction. Even if it proves to be a junk vaccine, at least its proof scientists are making ground in the fight for an ultimate cure for asthma.