Every wonder why asthma is classified as mild, moderate and severe? In other words, ever wonder why some people have worse asthma than others? If so, you're not alone: scientists have been wondering this too, and for years.
Thankfully scientists in the modern world are so kind to us asthmatics that they continue to search for these answers. The latest wisdom suggests that a "small protein" may be the "culprit." The protein is a "chemokine called CCL26."
This is according to a press release by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology regarding a study published in Journal of Leukocyte Biology.
According the the press release, "CCL26 is a potent regulator of the migration of asthmatic eosinophils, commonly observed in asthmatic airways."
The release continues: "Specifically, data from the report suggest that the chemokine CCL26 plays a crucial role in asthma pathogenesis and its severity by supporting the recruitment of eosinophils early in the development of the disease, and possibly later in severe asthma associated with persisting lung eosinophilia."
What are eosinophils you ask? A good answer is found at the website of Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (aafa.org):
"Eosinophils are a type of white blood cells whose natural role is to defend the body against parasites. But they also accumulate wherever allergic reactions take place, including allergic asthma... The chemicals are very efficient at fighting parasites, but they can also harm the body if released in the wrong place. So the lining of the lungs becomes damaged in asthma... over the years, researchers have discovered that eosinophils play a pivotal role in immune development and asthma. Asthma and allergic diseases occur when the immune system improperly responds to harmless environmental substances such as pollen and mold."
The more severe your asthma is, the greater the number of eosinophils will be found in your sputum. In other words, eosinophils are responsible for increased inflammation in asthmatic lungs.
And, again, "a small protein chemokine called CCL26" is the culprit that causes the increased level of eosinophils."
Scientists and researchers are already looking for a medicine "to reduce eosinophils in asthma patients," said aafa.org. This new discovery should help along these lines, perhaps leading "to new drug targets for the treatment of asthma," according to the press release.
Another expert quoted in the press release suggested this may lead to "new treatment that would specifically abrogate bronchial inflammation and provide a specific, efficacious and well-tolerated alternative to the current therapy."
Will it be a new pill? A new inhaler? What should we call it? Inflammex? Asthmabegone?
Regardless, it's neat to think of all the progress that's been made in regards to our disease just since the turn of the 20th century. Studies like this make it possible to dream of an even better life with asthma in the future.
RT Cave Facebook Page
Rick Frea's Facebook
RT Cave on Twitter