Scientists in the United Kingdom have discovered both the cause of asthma and a potential cure. In a breakthrough new paper, they identify calcium sensing receptors as the cells that cause the inflammation experienced by asthma sufferers and identify a class of drugs known as calcilytics as a promising treatment.
“If we can prove that calcilytics are safe when administered directly to the lung in people, then in five years we could be in a position to treat patients and potentially stop asthma from happening in the first place,” said principal investigator Daniela Riccardi, of Cardiff University.
Calcilytics were originally developed as a treatment for osteoporosis. Although the drugs were unsuccessful for their original use, they were proven to be clinically safe. Researchers hope to be repurposing the drug in clinical trials within two years.
While asthma can be controlled by albuterol and steroids, approximately 8% of patients do not respond positively to any treatment. Researchers estimate that this small faction of asthma patients is responsible for 90% of asthma-related healthcare costs.