This type of drugs may reverse symptoms of asthma

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In a new study, researchers have announced findings that could pave the way for a new treatment for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The breakthrough findings identify a new class of drugs that could reverse the symptoms of asthma.

They also found that the same drugs, when applied to lung samples obtained from human donors, showed effects similar to those seen in the animal models.

Scientists believe that these combined findings offer new hope that these drugs could provide new medicines for human inflammatory lung disease.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Glasgow and elsewhere.

The drugs used by the team work through a mechanism that is distinct from currently prescribed medicines for asthma and COPD.

The findings describe a route to alternative treatments for patients suffering from severe forms of asthma and COPD, that are not controlled by current frontline treatments.

The new approach is centered on the activation of a protein that, up until now has been known to respond to fats contained in our diet.

The protein, called free fatty acid receptor 4 (FFA4), is found in the gut and pancreas where it is activated by dietary fats including the fish oil omega 3.

Once activated FFA4 is known to help control levels of glucose in our blood.

Surprisingly the team found FFA4 is also present in the human lung.

By designing a new class of drugs that activate FFA4 in the lung, the researchers found that the muscle that surrounds the airways relaxes allowing more air to enter the lung.

They also found that activators of FFA4 also reduced inflammation caused by exposure of mice to pollution, cigarette smoke, and allergens like house dust mite that cause asthma.

In this way, they have established that activating FFA4 can reverse the key hallmarks of inflammatory lung disease heralding the prospect of new drugs for the treatment for lung disease.

The team says it was a surprise to find that by targeting a protein activated by fish oils in the diet they were able to relax airway muscle and prevent inflammation.

They are optimistic that we can extend our findings and develop a new drug treatment of asthma and COPD.

One author of the study is Andrew Tobin, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology.

The study is published in Science Translational Medicine.

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