Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world.
Asthma can impact people in different ways – from mild forms of the disease to instances where it is life-threatening.
But what drives asthma and how can we stop it?
It has recently been discovered that two different types of immune cells (called neutrophils and eosinophils) accumulate in the airways of severe asthma patients, and drive the disease’s progression in the airways.
The trouble though, has been getting a treatment to these asthma-inducing cells without harming nearby healthy cells.
That’s where Dr Gokhan Cildir from the Centre for Cancer Biology’s research comes in, proudly supported by The Hospital Research Foundation Group.
Dr Cildir has discovered that a unique protein is found exclusively on the surface of these cells.
He aims to use this protein as a gateway to the cells, helping to deliver inhibiting drugs more directly and effectively.
“This novel approach is expected to eliminate these cells driving disease progression without affecting other cell types,” Dr Cildir said.
“To this end, we have now successfully generated novel antibodies that are being tested in the laboratory. We are characterising these antibodies together with cytotoxic drugs, that will be tested in future clinical trials.”
If successful, this treatment could be a game-changer for asthmatics worldwide!
Dr Cildir is half way through his project, we look forward to keeping you updated.