Protein tied to asthma identified

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New York, Feb 21 (IANS) Researchers have identified a protein linked to the development of asthma even in the absence of viral infection.

“This work is the first step in generating a novel type of asthma therapy that may have the power to prevent development of post-viral asthma in young children,” said one of the lead researchers Brian Volkman, professor of biochemistry at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) in the US.

Viral infections have been associated with the majority of asthma attacks and also in the development of asthma. However, currently, there is no cure for asthma; all current therapies focus on providing symptomatic relief and reducing the number and severity of attacks.

The researchers reported that a human chemokine (protein) called CCL28 can play a role in the induction of asthma pathology even in the absence of a viral infection.

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that affects more than 300 million people worldwide, the study said.

“Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which asthma develops and establishes itself as a chronic disease is key to elucidating alternative and potentially curative therapies,” Mitchell Grayson, associate professor of allergy and immunology at the MCW added.

“We propose that by exploiting the unique structural features of CCL28, potent and specific CCL28 inhibitors may be developed,” Volkman noted.

The findings were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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