Asthma is a respiratory condition which causes the airways to be inflamed and narrow, thus making it hard for one to breathe. Most asthma attacks are triggered by things like pollen, dust, exercise and molds among other things. When we breathe in things like dust or pollen, the immune system produces antibodies which bind to inflammatory cells in the body. This process is what causes shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing experienced by asthma patients. Although asthma medication works, it is not very effective in those with severe asthma. Fortunately, researchers have come up with a new treatment method that is more effective and can be more beneficial to asthma patients.
The mechanism of the new method is in a way similar to how dialysis works. This treatment method is based on the use of a device created by scientists from the Medical University of Vienna. The device is called the absorber lgEnio. It has beads which are made from a polymer known as sepharose. It is extracted from seaweed and it carries lgE (immunoglobulin E).
The method works similar to dialysis in the way that blood is pumped through the device and the sepharose captures almost 80 percent of the IgE antibodies in the blood. The treatment has to be done repeatedly, especially when a patient is constantly exposed to the irritants, since the antibodies will continue to be formed. The researchers noted that the lgEnio treatment is more effective if other asthma drugs are administered along with it.
Another study conducted by researchers at Leicester University has led to potentially useful findings. They were investigating a protein known as HMGB1 (high mobility group box 1) which is a specific protein when it comes to asthma that releases chemicals which promote inflammation and constriction of airways. To understand better the way this protein acts, the study was carried out on airway muscle and mucous samples. Asthmatics with different severity of the condition took part in the study.
According to the findings of the research, this protein increases its presence in the mucous and in the airways of those with severe asthma. This knowledge is valuable since new medication that specifically targets the protein can be developed. This new medication that would be able to reduce or even block the amount of HMGB1 produced could be available within 5-7 years, the researchers believe.