New hope of asthma cure within five years
IRELAND'S 470,000 asthma sufferers have been given new hope of a cure for the disease within five years after scientists discovered what causes the condition and how to switch it off.
The breakthrough, which could change the lives of asthma sufferers, was made by researchers at Cardiff University and Kings College London who identified which cells cause the airways to narrow when triggered by irritants such as pollution.
Drugs known as calcilytics, which treat bone disease, already exist which can deactivate the cells affecting the airways.
The scientists are hopeful that in the future asthmatics will take the drug to prevent an attack ever happening and it will end the need to constantly carry an inhaler.
Prof Richard Costello, chair of the Medical Advisory Group of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said: "This research looks very interesting as all new insights into the mechanism of asthma and possible new treatments could be helpful and we look forward to future developments.
"However, patients are best advised to continue to try to avoid triggers and use preventer medications regularly to maintain control of their asthma."
The organisation's chief executive Sharon Cosgrove pointed out that "any news of a breakthrough in the treatment of asthma is always welcome", especially in Ireland where we have the fourth highest incidence of asthma per capita in the world.
"If a clinical treatment emerges from this research, it could be potentially life changing for the 470,000 asthma sufferers here," she said.
Researchers say if calcilytics are safe when administered directly to the lungs, then they may have a cure.