28 May 2024

Asthma was cured the same way cancer was cured

Immunologists from China have discovered that the therapy, which is successfully used to fight cancer, is also effective in allergic bronchial asthma. Symptoms of the disease in mice on which the treatment was tested disappeared for at least a year.

Chronic diseases, as a rule, are not treated: once they appear, they accompany a person for life. In order to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications, it is necessary to follow doctors' recommendations and undergo regular check-ups. However, the symptoms of chronic diseases can disappear for several months or even years. Such periods are called remission.

Researchers from Tsinghua University, Shanxi Medical University and Tsinghua-Beijing Centre for Natural Sciences (all in China) have found a way to achieve long-term remission of one of the most common chronic diseases - allergic bronchial asthma. They applied a therapy that has been shown to be effective in treating cancer. The corresponding scientific article was published in the journal Nature Immunology.

Scientists injected mice with asthma with immune T-cells with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), abbreviated as CAR T-cells. Their function is to target and weaken the factors that trigger allergies. After the injection, which contained a single dose of the drug, the researchers monitored whether the animals showed signs of allergic activity and inflammation in the lungs.

The observations showed that CAR-T cells neutralised white blood cells and blocked the function of proteins that are involved in the pathological processes of asthma. By doing so, a single injection of the drug suppressed lung inflammation and alleviated the symptoms of the disease in mice. The scientists also found that the injected CAR-T cells persisted for at least a year, continuing to prevent allergic immune reactions. Previously, double vaccination has been used to achieve remission that lasted from 11 weeks.

According to the researchers, the results of the experiment could be an important step in the development of therapy for patients with chronic allergic asthma. During clinical trials, it is necessary to find out how safe and effective CAR-T cells are for treating people with asthma. If successful, CAR-T-cell therapy could be a promising method in which long-term remission of the disease can be achieved with just one dose of the drug.

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