Asthma Sufferers May Find Relief with Arthritis Drug
Asthma sufferers could possibly be treated with a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Reuters reports.
On Friday, scientists in Australia identified two mutant genes after comparing 58,000 DNA samples of people living in Australia, Europe and the United States with and without asthma that may predispose a person to asthma.
"We found two regions of the DNA that are consistently different between asthmatics and non-asthmatics," lead author Manuel Ferreira at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane told Reuters by telephone.
One of the genes is known to be linked to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The researchers suggested that the drug tocilizumab, which is used to treat RA, may also work for asthma sufferers.
Tocilizumab, marketed under the brand Actemra, targets a certain molecule in the body called interleukin-6 receptor and reduces inflammation in RA patients. "Targeting interleukin-6 receptor may be a good strategy to reduce or prevent inflammation [in asthma] in the same way that it is used to prevent or reduce inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis," Ferreira told Reuters.
More research needs to be conducted before it can be confirmed that the drug may be helpful to asthma patients, Ferreira added.