A new study claims drugs used to treat cancer could be effective in treating a type of lung disease known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD patients suffer from breathing issues and poor airflow. University of Sheffield researchers were part of the team that conducted the study.
Researchers say the condition develops over time. Symptoms often go unnoticed and most catch it in their 40s or 50s. Here are some of the symptoms COPD patients tend to exhibit:
* Breathing becomes difficult
* Experience chest infections often
For the study, the team examined a range of drugs that are used to treat cancer. The goal was to study the effect these drugs had on COPD patients suffering from lung damage. Through their investigation, they were able to identify certain compounds that could kill neutrophils - immune cells - and help the lung to heal.
The study's findings suggest certain drugs used to treat cancer could also be used to kill neutrophils faster and efficiently. The team also noticed these drugs helped to reduce inflammation further by editing the genes coding for purposed of cell signalling.
"COPD is usually treated with steroids and airway muscle relaxants which ease symptoms, but there is currently no effective treatment clinically available to counteract the damage it does to the lungs," Lynne Prince study co-author from the University of Sheffield told a news portal. Adding,"Our research now shows that inhibitors of these cell signalling processes, or ErbB kinases, could have therapeutic potential in neutrophilic inflammatory disease."
These drugs could also help clear out the harmful cells in the lungs of COPD patients. This could help to prevent further damage to the lungs. "We are in desperate need of a new treatment for COPD, millions of people all over the world live with the disease and it has a massive impact on their quality of life, especially as the disease progresses," study co-author Stephen Renshaw told a news portal.
Researchers also hope their findings could help scientists develop better treatment options for other health conditions connected to inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis.
The study's findings were originally published in the journal eLife.
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