At this week's American Thoracic Society Conference, held in San Francisco, researchers from Brazil presented research investigating the potential of gene therapy in asthma.
The researchers found, in a study in mice, that they could get helpful molecules into the lungs through a gene therapy technique. This has a long way to go before we know if similar techniques could work in humans with asthma, but the aim would be to help people who do not respond to current treatments.
The research is at an early stage, and full details have yet to be published.
Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, said:
“There are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK whose asthma is so bad that they struggle to breathe every day because current treatments just don’t work for them. Uncontrolled symptoms and repeated asthma attacks can lead to permanent lung damage, and the researchers from Brazil are investigating a way to stop and possibly even reverse this using gene therapy. Although their research has potential, using any sort of inhaled gene therapy as a treatment in people with asthma is still a long way off. We urgently need more investment in asthma research to drive the development of new treatments that many people with asthma so desperately need.”