Medicines in Development Provide a Breath of Fresh Air for Asthma

Medicines in Development Provide a Breath of Fresh Air for Asthma

03.05.12 | By Preet Bilinski

As a pretty healthy person, the only time I really struggle to breathe is after a long grueling run. But for individuals with asthma it can be a common occurrence. Today, more than 24 million American adults and children suffer from asthma, with that number continuing to grow, according to the CDC. Asthma is a narrowing of the airways to the lungs caused by inflammation in the air passages, resulting from both genetic and environmental influences. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and coughing tightness in the chest. In severe cases, asthma can be deadly.

America's biopharmaceutical researchers are studying new, exciting ways to tackle asthma with 74 medicines to treat or prevent asthma in development. Examples of two medicines now being tested to treat the disease include:

  • A monoclonal antibody that inhibits eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) from accumulating in the lungs of those with asthma, and stopping those cells that are already there from causing damage.
  • An inhalation therapy, part of a new class of treatments, that stimulates the natural immune defense in the airways, aimed to prevent infections and progressive respiratory diseases, such as asthma.

For those with asthma, it is a lifelong disease; if you have it, you have it all the time. However, you only suffer attacks when something bothers your lungs. In most cases, we don't know what causes asthma, and we don't know how to cure it. But, you can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an attack, staying away from things that trigger an attack, and following the advice of your doctor or other medical professional.

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