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Potential root cause of asthma found

Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Cardiff University scientists have identified the potential root cause of asthma and an existing drug that offers a new treatment.

Researchers, working in collaboration with scientists at King’s College London and the Mayo Clinic (USA), discovered a previously unproven role of a protein (CaSR) in the disease which affects 300 million people worldwide.

The findings have been published in a paper for the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The paper highlights how a class of drugs known as calcilytics manipulate CaSR to reverse all the symptoms of asthma.

Calcilytics were first created to treat the bone disease osteoporosis.

Our findings are incredibly exciting. For the first time we have found a link between airways inflammation, which can be caused by.... allergens, cigarette smoke and car fumes, and airways twitchiness in allergic asthma.

– Professor Daniela Riccardi, Cardiff University School of Biosciences

Asthma UK helped fund the research.

This hugely exciting discovery enables us, for the first time, to tackle the underlying causes of asthma symptoms. Five per cent of people with asthma don’t respond to current treatments so research breakthroughs could be life changing for hundreds of thousands of people.

– Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK

Adults with asthma urged to take test online

The new figures about how many people underestimate the risk caused by their asthma come from 2,498 Welsh responses to a test set up by Asthma UK.

The charity is urging adults with asthma to take the 'Avoid Asthma Attacks' test.

It says that the test only takes 60 seconds, will reveal someone's risk of having an asthma attack, and tell them how they can reduce it.

Common risks include not taking your preventer inhaler every day, ignoring worsening symptoms and not having a personal asthma action plan.


Charity: Attitude of 'it's just asthma' needs to change

Too many people with asthma are unaware that the condition can be fatal and that they are regularly taking huge risks with their lives.

We can all help stop asthma deaths, and we need to start by changing the attitude that 'it's just asthma'.

We've launched the Stop Asthma Deaths campaign to help people reduce their chance of having of an attack - but they can't do this alone.

Healthcare professionals also have a crucial part to play in helping people manage their asthma and spotting who may be in danger.

– John Mathias, National Director of Asthma UK Cymru

People in Wales 'underestimate risk of an asthma attack'

A new campaign aims to raise awareness of how everyday risks can lead to a potentially fatal asthma attack. Credit: Asthma UK

More than 110,000 people in Wales don't realise they are a risk of an asthma attack, according to new research.

Asthma UK Cymru found that 48% of people who took their test, who have asthma, don't think they are at risk of an attack.

The vast majority of those people are wrong, and are at danger, the charity says.

It says the data shows people with asthma considerably underestimate their risk of potentially fatal attacks, and is launching a campaign called 'Stop Asthma Deaths' to try to make people more aware of the danger.

Cardiff University fungi discovery could help future asthma sufferers

This is not the first time researchers at Cardiff University have made the link between fungi and asthma. Previous research found that removing fungi from people's homes could help improve life for asthma sufferers.

Historically, the lungs were thought to be sterile. Our analysis found that there are large numbers of fungi present in healthy human lungs. The study also demonstrates that asthma patients have a large number of fungi in their lungs and that the species of fungi are quite different to those present in the lungs of healthy individuals

Establishing the presence of fungi in the lungs of patients with asthma could potentially open up a new field of research which brings together molecular techniques for detecting fungi and developing treatments for asthma.

– Dr Hugo van Woerden, Cardiff University
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