Monday July 16, 2018

Gene Therapy: Scientists may have found a way to ‘turn off’ Asthma!

Asthma is a major chronic disease that makes it difficult to breathe properly. Scientists using 'Gene Therapy' may 'turn off' Asthma

0
//
204
FILE - A person uses an inhaler to cope with asthma. VOA
Republish
Reprint
  • Asthma is a noncommunicable disease which narrows the air passage to the lungs causing difficulty in breathing.
  • Some 235 million people currently suffer from this chronic disease. 
  • It is a common disease among children. 

What is it? 

Asthma restricts a person’s ability to breathe. The inflammation narrows the extent of the air passage. It is a common disease in many parts of the world. Nearly 300 people suffer from Asthma according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. 250,000 are estimated to die from the disease. Asthma patients experience tightness in chest, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing.

What are the recent developments?

The problem with Asthma and allergies as such is that the immune cells (also called the T-cells) are very resistant to treatments. That is because they have immune memory. Previously, scientists looked at nanoparticles so as to smuggle the allergen past the immune system. Now, scientists are able to wipe off the memory of these T-cells with gene therapy.

Diagrammatic representation of Asthma. Wikimedia

A research done at the University of Queensland led by Associate Professor Ray Steptoe shows some promising results. Dr. Steptoe has his lab at the Translational Research Institute.

The team of scientists took blood stem cells, inserted the gene that regulates allergen protein and then put it into the recipient. The gene produces cells that ‘turn off’ allergic responses in the recipient.

Through the experiment, scientists successfully terminated any allergic response by the body.

What the future holds?

This study was centered around Asthma. The results have encouraged the scientists to apply the study to provide protection against other common allergies- peanuts, bee venom, shellfish, etc.

Another challenge for the study ahead is an attempt to turn off multiple responses because there may be several proteins one might be allergic to.

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

Fruit and Veg Diet ‘Can Fight Asthma’

The study adds to the evidence on the importance of a healthy diet in managing asthma and its possible role in helping prevent the onset of asthma in adults

0
Eat more fruits, veggies to reduce asthma symptoms
Eat more fruits, veggies to reduce asthma symptoms. Pixabay

If you have asthma, switching to a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals may help in reducing the symptoms like difficulty in breathing, chest pain and coughing among many other things, according to a study.

On the other hand, those who take unhealthy diets, with high consumption of meat, salt and sugar, are likely to have the poorest relief from asthma symptoms, the study showed, suggesting the role of healthy diet in preventing the onset of asthma as well as controlling problem in adults.

“A healthy diet is mostly made up of a high intake of fruit, vegetables and fibre. These have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are elements in a healthy diet that potentially lower symptoms,” said lead researcher Roland Andrianasolo, from University of Paris 13 in France.

“In contrast, the least healthy diets include high consumption of meat, salt, and sugar, and these are elements with pro-inflammatory capacities that may potentially worsen symptoms of asthma,” he added.

A healthy diet is mostly made up of a high intake of fruit, vegetables and fibre.
A healthy diet is mostly made up of a high intake of fruit, vegetables and fibre. Pixabay

The results also showed that for men and women with asthma who adhered to healthy diets, the likelihood of poorly controlled symptoms was lower by 60 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.

For the study, published in European Respiratory Journal, the team analysed data from 34,776 adults.

Overall, men who ate a healthier diet showed a 30 per cent lower chance of experiencing asthma symptoms, while in women with healthier diets, the chance of experiencing the symptoms was 20 per cent lower.

Also Read: Asthma Patients May be Over-Medicating

“The study adds to the evidence on the importance of a healthy diet in managing asthma and its possible role in helping prevent the onset of asthma in adults.

“Healthcare professionals must find the time to discuss diet with their patients, as this research suggests it could play an important role in preventing asthma,” the researchers noted. (IANS)