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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Future possibility: Take a pill and turn your allergic asthma off

So you enter a room, flick a switch, and you have light.  When you leave the room you flick the switch the other way, and the light is off.  Wouldn't it be nice if it was just as easy turn your allergic asthma off?   

Well, a new study suggests that this might be a possibility in the future. 

No, there won't be a switch under your left ear you can click on and off. Instead, by your right ear, there will be a red button.  When you sense your allergies are bothering your asthma, you just push the button to turn your allergies off.  Just kidding! 

Actually, there was a study performed by Japanese researchers that may haveprovided information that might help investigators come up with a medicine (such as a pill or inhaler) that could help control "runaway inflammation" that presents in asthmatic lungs, according to a press release by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and published in the 2013 issue ofFASEB Journal.

Scientists discovered that "two receptors of an inflammatory molecule, called 'leukotriene B4,' play opposing roles in turning inflammation on and off for allergic asthma and COPD," according to the press release.  (emphasis mine)

The two receptors are as follows:
  • The 1st receptor, called 'BLT1,' promotes inflammation
  • The 2nd receptor, called 'BLT2,' has a potential to weaken inflammation during an allergic reaction.
The discovery of BLT2 is what is significant here, because previously, accoridng to the report, BLT2 was believed to increase the inflammatory response.  Now that researchers know the truth about BLT2, that BLT2 decreases the inflammatory response, BLT2 could become a major, significant, amazing friend of asthmatics and COPD sufferers around the world. 

Note:  I did not use a pronoun in place of BLT2 when I probably should have above just so we could get used to rattling off BLT2.  "Did you take your BLT2 pill?" may be a common phrase by friends of asthmatic patients.  Or maybe not. 

You see, this new wisdom may end up amounting to nothing; yet we like to stay positive here.  

The report continues:  "Leukotriene B4 levels are elevated in the airways of the patients with asthma and COPD, and the opposite role of BLT1 and BLT2 in allergic inflammation implies that drug development should target BLT1 and BLT2 differently," said Hiromasa Inoue, M.D., study author from the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at the Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences at Kagoshima University in Kagoshima, Japan.

And finally:  "We hope that better anti-asthma drugs or anti-COPD drugs will be produced in the future to treat millions of patients who suffer from severe asthma and COPD."

We do too.  If there's a pill we can take to prevent fall allergies, that would be awesome.  If there's an inhaler to puff on just prior to going to hunting camp to prevent allergic asthma, then I'm all for it. 

Can you say BLT1?  Yeah, maybe the can call it Baconulterol or hamlung or asthmanoff or allergyoff or inflamationex.  If you have a better suggestion, let us know in the comments below.   

As for the button under the ear: I'd be all for that too if it meant no more allergic asthma. What do you think?

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