A rheumatoid athritis drug shows promise of helping asthma patients, Reuters reports.
Australian researchers were able to identify two genes among 58,000 DNA samples of individuals from Australia, the United States and Europe with and without asthma, that are consistently mutated with the inflammatory airway disease.
Nine-year-old Vikneswari Rajagopal breathes from a nebulizer as she seeks treatment for her asthma at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, September 25, with her mother Parameswari Munusamy looking on. There has been an increased in haze related sickness, mainly upper respiratory track infections, asthma, conjunctivitis and bronchitis since the country was enveloped with thick fog for the past two weeks. Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and southern Philippines and parts of Indonesia archipelago have been covered by the smoky haze caused by the burning of huge tracts of bush and forest in Sumatra and the Indonesian half of Borneo island.
One of the genes is also known to be linked with rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that usually attacks the joints. The researchers suggested that the drug tocilizumab may also work for asthma sufferers.
Tocilizumab, marketed under the brand Actemra, targets a certain molecule in the body called interleukin-6 receptor. The drug acts by binding to the receptor, resulting in decreased inflammation in rheumatois arthritis. Asthma, an inflammatory disease of the airway, may possibly find relief with this drug.
More research needs to be done to ascertain the effectiveness of the drug among asthmatics.
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