Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hope of new treatment for severe asthma patients resistant to corticosteroids

New research from Japan brings hope of a new treatment for asthma patients resistant to corticosteroids.

Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences and Keio University in Japan report that a type of lymphocytes called natural helper (NH) cells plays a critical role in corticosteroid resistance and demonstrate that the anti-psychotic drug Pimozide can be used to overcome resistance to steroids in severe asthma patients.

Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by a persistent inflammation of the airways. The condition can be controlled with a moderate dose of inhaled corticosteroids in most patients. However, 5-10% of patients with "severe asthma" respond poorly to a maximal dose of steroids. These patients experience uncontrolled and frequent asthma symptoms that have a profound impact on their quality of life and health care costs. Unveiling the mechanism leading to steroid resistance in these patients is therefore crucial for the development of a new, effective therapy. ​
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